At the University of Basel in Switzerland, researchers have come up with a way of implanting artificial organelles into individual cells of zebrafish embryos. Introducing artificial organelles into cells can allow for manipulation of inter-cellular activities that are otherwise very difficult to influence.
Artificial organelles can be made to carry enzymes and other compounds that would then be triggered to release its cargo based on pH levels or other conditions inside the cell. By only releasing the cargo inside cells that meet certain conditions, artificial organelle-based therapies may end up causing little to no side effects on the rest of the body.
The organelles developed at University of Basel are made of polymers that form on their own within a special solution. When compounds are added to the solution, those compounds end up inside of the polymer vesicles when they take their shape.
Some details from University of Basel:
The artificial organelles presented here contained a peroxidase enzyme that only begins to act when specific molecules penetrate the wall of the capsules and support the enzymatic reaction.
To control the passage of substances, the researchers incorporated chemically modified natural membrane proteins into the wall of the capsules. These act as gates that open according to the glutathione concentration in the cell.
At a low glutathione value, the pore of the membrane proteins are “closed” – that is, no substances can pass. If the glutathione concentration rises above a certain threshold, the protein gate opens and substances from outside can pass through the pore into the cavity of the capsule. There, they are converted by the enzyme inside and the product of the reaction can leave the capsule through the open gate.
“In this study, we showed that the artificial organelles, which are inspired by nature, continue to work as intended in the living organism, and that the protein gate we incorporated not only works in cell cultures but also in vivo,” comments Tomaž Einfalt, the first author of the article and graduate of the PhD School of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute.
Study in Nature Communications: Biomimetic artificial organelles with in vitro and in vivo activity triggered by reduction in microenvironment…
Via: University of Basel…