Scientists recreate cell division—outside a cell

June 28, 2019

We have constructed active liquid droplets comprised of the biopolymer actin, crosslinker and molecular motors myosin. The motors spontaneously divide the droplets in half. 

Together, Gardel, Vainkunation and Witten showed how liquid crystal droplets could explain the motor centering and droplet bisection. This work shows minimal elements in active soft matter for supporting morphogenic changes, as may have bene seen in primitive cells.

Weirich, Disbaswas, Witten, Vainkunathan, Gardel, 'Self-organizing motors divide active liquid droplets," PNAS (2019) 116 (23) 11125-11130

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