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In vitro synthesis of a Major Facilitator Transporter for specific active transport across Droplet Interface Bilayers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39349
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date20 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2016


King's Authors


Nature encapsulates reactions within membrane-bound compartments, affording sequential and spatial control over biochemical reactions. Droplet Interface Bilayers are evolving into a valuable platform to mimic this key biological feature in artificial systems. A major issue is manipulating flow across synthetic bilayers. Droplet Interface Bilayers must be functionalised, with seminal work using membrane-inserting toxins, ion channels and pumps illustrating the potential. Specific transport of biomolecules, and notably transport against a concentration gradient, across these bilayers has yet to be demonstrated. Here, we successfully incorporate the archetypal Major Facilitator Superfamily transporter, lactose permease, into Droplet Interface Bilayers and demonstrate both passive and active, uphill transport. This paves the way for controllable transport of sugars, metabolites and other essential biomolecular substrates of this ubiquitous transporter superfamily in DIB networks. Furthermore, cell-free synthesis of lactose permease during DIB formation also results in active transport across the interface bilayer. This adds a specific disaccharide transporter to the small list of integral membrane proteins that can be synthesised via in vitro transcription/translation for applications of DIB-based artificial cell systems. The introduction of a means to promote specific transport of molecules across Droplet Interface Bilayers against a concentration gradient gives a new facet to droplet networks.

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