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access icon openaccess Synthetic self-patterning and morphogenesis in mammalian cells: a proof-of-concept step towards synthetic tissue development

This study reports a proof-of-concept study as a step toward synthetic-biological morphogenesis of tissues. Events in normal animal development usually follow the sequence: patterning → differential gene expression → morphogenesis. A synthetic biological approach to development might follow a similar sequence, with each stage under the control of synthetic biological modules. The authors have constructed and published a synthetic module that drives self-organised patterning of mammalian cell populations into patches of different cell types. Here, as a proof of concept, they extend the self-patterning module with a morphogenetic effector that drives elective cell death in just one cell type. The result is a self-constructing pattern of two cell types, one of which can be selectively eliminated to leave remaining cells as a monolayer with a net-like structure. This simple device demonstrates and validates the idea of coupling synthetic biological morphogenetic effectors to synthetic biological patterning devices. It opens the path to engineering more sophisticated structures and, perhaps eventually, tissues.

http://iet.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1049/enb.2017.0013
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content/journals/10.1049/enb.2017.0013
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