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A Synthetic Vesicle-to-Vesicle Communication System.

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Ding, Yudi 
Williams, Nicholas H  ORCID logo
Hunter, Christopher A  ORCID logo


A molecular signal displayed on the external surface of one population of vesicles was used to trigger a catalytic process on the inside of a second population of vesicles. The key recognition event is the transfer of a protein (NeutrAvidin) bound to vesicles displaying desthiobiotin to vesicles displaying biotin. The desthiobiotin-protein complex was used to anchor a synthetic transducer in the outer leaflet of the vesicles, and when the protein was displaced, the transducer translocated across the bilayer to expose a catalytic headgroup to the internal vesicle solution. As a result, an ester substrate encapsulated on the inside of this second population of vesicles was hydrolyzed to give a fluorescence output signal. The protein has four binding sites, which leads to multivalent interactions with membrane-anchored ligands and very high binding affinities. Thus, biotin, which has a dissociation constant 3 orders of magnitude higher than desthiobiotin, did not displace the protein from the membrane-anchored transducer, and membrane-anchored biotin displayed on the surface of a second population of vesicles was required to generate an effective input signal.



Artificial Cells, Avidin, Biotin, Lipid Bilayers, Liposomes, Phosphatidylcholines, Phosphatidylethanolamines, Signal Transduction

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J Am Chem Soc

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American Chemical Society (ACS)


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Herchel Smith Fund