YOMO Dynamical Micro-scale Reaction Environment

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Research Director: Tetsuya YOMO
(Former professor, Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Osaka University)
Research Term: 2009-2014


Life is frequently defined as an "evolvable and self-sustainable chemical reaction system." This definition, however, is not widely accepted and represents not all the characteristics of cell, the natural dynamic micro-reactor. The aim of this project was to construct an artificial micro-reactor demonstrating the dynamical properties of natural cells from identified materials. We focused on three dynamic properties: 1) stochasticity, high efficiency, and robustness of internal reactions; 2) recursivity by growth and division; and 3) evolvability by mutation and selection. We compared the constructed artificial micro-reactor with a bacterium, Escherichia coli, to identify the differences and similarities between the artificial and natural dynamic micro-reactors. The construction and comparison will provide a new concept of the "cell" as the minimum unit of life, leading to the design principles for an artificial cell. This project required interdisciplinary collaboration among various fields such as cell biology, biochemistry, physicochemistry, theoretical biology, and micro- or nanoengineering. This collaboration will cultivate young researchers who will open a new field of science.



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