Controlling Secretion in Artificial Cells with a Membrane and Gate

Claire E. Hilburger, Miranda L. Jacobs, Kamryn R. Lewis, Justin A. Peruzzi, Neha P. Kamat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The assembly of channel proteins into vesicle membranes is a useful strategy to control activities of vesicle-based systems. Here, we developed a membrane AND gate that responds to both a fatty acid and a pore-forming channel protein to induce the release of encapsulated cargo. We explored how membrane composition affects the functional assembly of α-hemolysin into phospholipid vesicles as a function of oleic acid content and α-hemolysin concentration. We then showed that we could induce α-hemolysin assembly when we added oleic acid micelles to a specific composition of phospholipid vesicles. Finally, we demonstrated that our membrane AND gate could be coupled to a gene expression system. Our study provides a new method to control the temporal dynamics of vesicle permeability by controlling when the functional assembly of a channel protein into synthetic vesicles occurs. Furthermore, a membrane AND gate that utilizes membrane-associating biomolecules introduces a new way to implement Boolean logic that should complement genetic logic circuits and ultimately enhance the capabilities of artificial cellular systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1224-1230
Number of pages7
JournalACS synthetic biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 21 2019


  • artificial cell
  • cell-free expression
  • membrane logic gate
  • protein-membrane interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)

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