DNA-based long-lived reaction-diffusion patterning in a host hydrogel

G. Urtel , A. Estevez-Torres , J.C. Galas

Bibtex , URL
Soft Matter
Published 28 Oct. 2019
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01786K


The development of living organisms is a source of inspiration for the creation of synthetic life-like materials. Embryo development is divided into three stages that are inextricably linked: patterning, differentiation and growth. During patterning, sustained out-of-equilibrium molecular programs interpret underlying molecular cues to create well-defined concentration profiles. Implementing this patterning stage in an autonomous synthetic material is a challenge that at least requires a programmable and long-lasting out-of-equilibrium chemistry compatible with a host material. Here, we show that DNA/enzyme reactions can create reaction-diffusion patterns that are extraordinary long-lasting both in solution and inside an autonomous hydrogel. The life-time and stability of these patterns - here traveling fronts and two-band patterns - are significantly increased by blocking parasitic side reactions and by dramatically reducing the diffusion coefficient of specific DNA strands. Immersed in oil, hydrogels pattern autonomously with limited evaporation, but can also exchange chemical information from other gels when brought in contact. Providing a certain degree of autonomy and being capable to interact with each other, we believe these out-of-equilibrium hydrogels open the way for the rational design of primitive metabolic materials.

Cette publication est associée à :

Morphogénèse dans les systèmes moléculaires