- NATL ACAD SCIENCES
Although challenging, the construction of a life-like compartment via a bottom-up approach can increase our understanding of life and protocells. The sustainable replication of genome information and the proliferation of phospholipid vesicles are requisites for reconstituting cell growth. However, although the replication of DNA or RNA has been developed in phospholipid vesicles, the sustainable proliferation of phospholipid vesicles has remained difficult to achieve. Here, we demonstrate the sustainable proliferation of liposomes that replicate RNA within them. Nutrients for RNA replication and membranes for liposome proliferation were combined by using a modified freeze-thaw technique. These liposomes showed fusion and fission compatible with RNA replication and distribution to daughter liposomes. The RNAs in daughter liposomes were repeatedly used as templates in the next RNA replication and were distributed to granddaughter liposomes. Liposome proliferation was achieved by 10 cycles of iterative culture operation. Therefore, we propose the use of culturable liposomes as an advanced protocell model with the implication that the concurrent supplement of both the membrane material and the nutrients of inner reactions might have enabled protocells to grow sustainably.
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