Application potential of future artificial cells

Functional macromolecules (proteins, enzymes, polynucleotides) as well as molecular assemblies (membranes, fibers, molecular actuators and motors) are designed by evolution to function optionally on the nanometer scale.

Nature's design principles are already being used as a guide in making rational molecular drug design, smart and intelligent liposome-based drug delivery and cancer therapy, gene delivery and gene repair, functionalized surfaces and sensors for biological and chemical recognition, biologically inspired computer technology, nano-wires and -networks, nanofluidic pumps and valves etc. [1].

A particularly compelling technological direction is that of functional, responsive and evolvable artificial cells some of which have been conceived and developed at initial stage within the PACE project. These future cells, once fully developed, will constitute a truly smart living nanotechnology, characterized by self-replication, self-repair, adaptation, autonomy, robustness and local intelligence - all desirable properties that our current technology lacks.

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