376814 Biomimetic Coacervate Environments for Protein Analysis

Thursday, November 20, 2014: 8:30 AM
International 9 (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
Sarah L. Perry1,2, Patrick McCall3, Lorraine Leon1,4, Dimitrios Priftis1, Joseph R. Sachleben5, Margaret L. Gardel3, Tobin R. Sosnick6 and Matthew Tirrell1,4, (1)Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, (2)Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, (3)Department of Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, (4)Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, (5)Biological Sciences Division, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, (6)Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Living cells have evolved sophisticated intracellular organization strategies that are challenging to reproduce synthetically. Biomolecular function depends on both the structure of the molecule itself and the properties of the surrounding medium. The ability to simulate the in vivo environment and isolate biological networks for study in an artificial milieu without sacrificing the crowding, structure, and compartmentalization of a cellular environment, represent engineering challenges with tremendous potential to impact both biological studies and biomedical applications.

A major challenge in designing synthetic organelles and reconstituted in vivo microenvironments is maintaining both crowding and compartmentalization while controlling the available intermolecular interactions.  Emerging experience has shown that complex coacervates (electrostatically-driven liquid-liquid phase separation) utilizing biomolecules produces an effective biomimetic microenvironment.  Initial efforts are focused on understanding (i) the incorporation of various model proteins and biomolecules into coacervate phases, (ii) the stability of the encapsulated proteins, and (iii) how environmental factors regulate activity, as in the case of the dynamic self-assembly of F-actin.

*This work is supported by the University of Chicago and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science program in Basic Energy Sciences and the Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, and the University of Chicago NSF-MRSEC.

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See more of this Session: Biomimetic Materials
See more of this Group/Topical: Materials Engineering and Sciences Division