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Credits: Nicola De Franceschi

Credits: Nicola De Franceschi

Cell division is one of the defining features of life.

When a bacterium divides, it grows by elongation while duplicating and segregating the genome.


Constriction of the cell results in the so-called "dumbbell" shape. Finally, the membrane scission machinery assembles at the narrow neck still connecting the two daughter cells. ​

In this movie, individual lambda DNA molecules were spontaneously segregated in the two daughter synthetic cells still connected by a membrane bridge.

Scientists around the world are trying to build cell division from the bottom-up, with the goal of creating a fully autonomous, self-dividing synthetic cell.

By using the SMS technology, we reconstituted a minimal scission machinery composed of only one protein: the bacterial GTPase Dynamin A.


Dynamin A spontaneously assembles at the neck of constricted synthetic cells and induces both membrane hemi-scission and full scission.

De Franceschi et al., Nature Nanotechnology 2023

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