A functioning artificial secretory cell
Journal article, 2012
We present an amperometric study of content release from individual vesicles in an artificial secretory cell designed with the minimal components required to carry out exocytosis. Here, the membranes of the cell and vesicles are substituted for protein-free giant and large unilamellar vesicles respectively. In replacement of the SNARE-complex, the cell model was equipped with an analog composed of complimentary DNA constructs. The DNA constructs hybridize in a zipper-like fashion to bring about docking of the artificial secretory vesicles and following the addition of Ca2+ artificial exocytosis was completed. Exocytotic events recorded from the artificial cell closely approximate exocytosis in live cells. The results together with simulations of vesicular release demonstrate that the molecular flux in this model is attenuated and we suggest that this is the result of restricted diffusion through a semi-stable fusion pore or a partitioning of the signalling molecule out of the fused vesicle membrane.