Nicolas Martin is a CNRS researcher at Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal (CNRS, University of Bordeaux, France). After completing his PhD in 2014 at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris on polyelectrolyte-assisted protein folding, he spent 4 years as a post-doc in the group of Prof. Stephen Mann at the University of Bristol (UK) to work on synthetic cells. His current research interests focus on the design and characterization of reactive and stimuli-responsive coacervates based on polyelectrolytes, nucleic acids, peptides or amphiphiles to mimic the dynamic organization of membraneless organelles in cells and shed light on the emergence of self-assembled life-like compartments.
Wednesday April 19th
Droplet-based dynamic protocells
Compartmentalization is a central hallmark of living cells that allows them to perform complex tasks by dynamically coordinating matter and energy fluxes in space and time. Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in the bottom-up assembly of synthetic micro-compartments that mimic the dynamic cellular organization. Microdroplets produced by liquid-liquid phase separation, such as complex coacervates, have become increasingly popular to build dynamic membrane-free compartments. These droplets provide new approaches to understand membraneless organelles ubiquitously found in living cells while shedding light on the transition from non-living to living matter. In this talk, I will show how liquid-liquid phase separation processes in water such as complex coacervation are being exploited to create dynamic protocells and organelles. I will in particular discuss examples of spatiotemporal control of biomolecule localization and chemical reactions via the design of stimuli-responsive coacervate droplets. Recent directions towards the construction of more advanced synthetic cells that integrate multiple functions in a droplet will also be discussed.