Growing membranes in vitro by continuous phospholipid biosynthesis from free fatty acids

Exterkate, M., Caforio, A., Stuart, M. C. A. & Driessen, A. J. M. 18-Sep-2017 In : ACS Synthetic Biology.

Research output: Scientific - peer-reviewArticle

One of the key aspects that defines a cell as a living entity is its ability to self-reproduce. In this process, membrane biogenesis is an essential element. Here, we developed an in vitro phospholipid biosynthesis pathway based on a cascade of eight enzymes, starting from simple fatty acid building blocks and glycerol 3-phosphate. The reconstituted system yields multiple phospholipid species that vary in acyl-chain and polar head group compositions. Due to the high fidelity and versatility, complete conversion of the fatty acid substrates into multiple phospholipid species is achieved simultaneously, leading to membrane expansion as a first step towards a synthetic minimal cell.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
StateE-pub ahead of print - 18-Sep-2017


  • phospholipid biosynthesis, membrane biogenesis, enzyme cascade, reconstitution

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