A synthetic metabolic network for physicochemical homeostasis

Pols, T., Sikkema, H. R., Gaastra, B. F., Frallicciardi, J., Śmigiel, W. M., Singh, S. & Poolman, B., 18-Sep-2019, In : Nature Communications. 10, 1, 13 p., 4239.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

One of the grand challenges in chemistry is the construction of functional out-of-equilibrium networks, which are typical of living cells. Building such a system from molecular components requires control over the formation and degradation of the interacting chemicals and homeostasis of the internal physical-chemical conditions. The provision and consumption of ATP lies at the heart of this challenge. Here we report the in vitro construction of a pathway in vesicles for sustained ATP production that is maintained away from equilibrium by control of energy dissipation. We maintain a constant level of ATP with varying load on the system. The pathway enables us to control the transmembrane fluxes of osmolytes and to demonstrate basic physicochemical homeostasis. Our work demonstrates metabolic energy conservation and cell volume regulatory mechanisms in a cell-like system at a level of complexity minimally needed for life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4239
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18-Sep-2019


  • synthetic cell, metabolic network, out-of-equilibrium chemistry, physicochemical homeostasis, MEMBRANE-PROTEINS, ARTIFICIAL CELL, ATP, RECONSTITUTION, EXPRESSION, TRANSPORT, PATHWAY, SYSTEM, LACTIS, DNA
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