Mussel adhesive inspires tough coating for living cells

Apr 06, 2011

Inspired by Mother Nature, scientists are reporting development of a protective coating with the potential to enable living cells to survive in a dormant condition for long periods despite intense heat, dryness and other hostile conditions. In a report in Journal of the American Chemical Society, they liken the coating to the armor that encloses the spores that protect anthrax and certain other bacterial cells, making those microbes difficult to kill.

Insung S. Choi and colleagues say their simple method for coating the yeast cells could "serve as a new strategy for controlling cell division and protection of artificial spore like structures in a designed way." The technique could be used to encapsulate individual cells for a variety of purposes, including the creation of tiny chemical probes, single-cell chemical factories, and perhaps armor for transplanted cells used in anti-cancer therapies.

The new coating is an called polydopamine, chemically similar to mussel adhesive. In laboratory experiments, the coating slowed down cell division in the yeast, while protecting them from cell-digesting chemicals. "We believe that polydopamine encapsulation would be a good starting point for both fundamental research and applications based on artificial ," Choi and colleagues note in their study, "as it endows living cells with durability against harsh environments, controllability in cell cycles, and reactivity for cell-surface modification."

Explore further: Engineering a protein to prevent brain damage from toxic agents

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nanotube Coating Meshes with Living Cells

Aug 14, 2006

Using a polymer coating that mimics part of a cell’s outer membrane, a team of investigators at the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a versatile method for targeting carbon nanotubes to specific types ...

MIT works toward novel therapeutic device

Oct 22, 2007

MIT and University of Rochester researchers report important advances toward a therapeutic device that has the potential to capture cells as they flow through the blood stream and treat them. Among other applications, ...

Researchers track how spores break out of dormant state

Jun 04, 2007

Tapping into the unknown world of awakening dormant bacterial spores, researchers have revealed through atomic force microscopy (AFM) the alterations of spore coat and germ cell wall that accompany the transformation from ...

Recommended for you

Free pores for molecule transport

19 hours ago

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) can take up gases similar to a sponge that soaks up liquids. Hence, these highly porous materials are suited for storing hydrogen or greenhouse gases. However, loading of many ...

User comments : 0