[Plos One] Protein aggregation with poly(vinyl) alcohol surfactant reduces double emulsion-encapsula
Development of artificial cell models requires encapsulation of biomolecules within membrane-bound compartments. There have been limited studies of using mammalian cell-free expression (CFE) system as the ‘cytosol’ of artificial cells. We exploit glass capillary droplet microfluidics for the encapsulation of mammalian CFE within double emulsion templated vesicles. The complexity of the physicochemical properties of HeLa cell-free lysate poses a challenge compared with encapsulating simple buffer solutions. In particular, we discovered the formation of aggregates in double emulsion templated vesicles encapsulating mammalian HeLa CFE, but not with bacterial CFE. The aggregates did not arise from insolubility of the proteins made from CFE nor due to the interaction of mammalian CFE with the organic solvents in the middle phase of the double emulsions. We found that aggregation is dependent on the concentration of poly(vinyl) alcohol (PVA) surfactant, a critical double emulsion-stabilizing surfactant, and the lysate concentration in mammalian CFE. Despite vesicle instability and reduced protein expression, we demonstrate protein expression by encapsulating mammalian CFE system. Using mass spectrometry and Western blot, we identified and verified that actin is one of the proteins inside the mammalian CFE that aggregated with PVA surfactant. Our work establishes a baseline description of mammalian CFE system encapsulated in double emulsion templated vesicles as a platform for building artificial cells.
Kenneth K. Y. Ho, Jin Woo Lee, Grégory Durand, Sagardip Majumder, Allen P. Liu Published: March 30, 2017http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174689