Eukaryotic Cell

In your assigned reading this week you have learned further about the relationship between the structure and function of biological molecules and how this is important in cellular organization.

A single eukaryotic cell not only has a membrane bound nucleus, but also numerous membrane bound organelles. These organelles support the many varied activities that a cell is required to carry out, but also add to the complexity of the intracellular environment. There has recently been an upsurge in the interest around constructing artificial cells, or cell like materials for pharmacological research or possibly even medical treatments.

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Keeping in mind the relationship between structure and function, discuss the potential uses of artificial cells and/or cell like materials and whether you consider them to be a good substitute for the natural versions.

For a simple example, a scientist may wish to study a membrane receptor protein, but in isolation from peripheral influences, so it is possible to generate a simple lipid bilayer that mimics the function of a cell membrane, containing that protein of interest. There it can be studied in the presence or absence of any secondary components the scientist wishes to include. A more complex answer might be to discuss the use of synthetic blood as a replacement for blood donors.

You will need to search the internet for your own examples and part of this assignment is to help you practice finding and digesting pertinent information, but the following links are a good place to start:

Wiesauer, M., & Knör, G. (2019). Towards artificial cells for biomedical applications [PDF]. Biomedical Research and Clinical Practice, 4(3). Retrieved from

Xu, C., Hu, S., & Chen, X. (2016). Artificial cells: From basic science to applications [PDF]. Materials Today, 19(9), 516-532. Retrieved from

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