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Two?Photon 3D Laser Printing Inside Synthetic Cells

Two?photon 3D laser printing inside of giant unilamellar lipid vesicles is reported. 2D and 3D hydrogel architectures with high precision and nearly arbitrary shape, including transmembrane pores, are realized within the confinement of a synthetic cell.Toward the ambitious goal of manufacturing synthetic cells from the bottom up, various cellular components have already been reconstituted inside lipid vesicles. However, the deterministic positioning of these components inside the compartment has remained elusive. Here, by using two?photon 3D laser printing, 2D and 3D hydrogel architectures are manufactured with high precision and nearly arbitrary shape inside preformed giant unilamellar lipid vesicles (GUVs). The required water?soluble photoresist is brought into the GUVs by diffusion in a single mixing step. Crucially, femtosecond two?photon printing inside the compartment does not destroy the GUVs. Beyond this proof?of?principle demonstration, early functional architectures are realized. In particular, a transmembrane structure acting as a pore is 3D printed, thereby allowing for the transport of biological cargo, including DNA, into the synthetic compartment. These experiments show that two?photon 3D laser microprinting can be an important addition to the existing toolbox of synthetic biology.

Publication date: 10/02/2022

Advanced Materials


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.