Artificial Signal Feedback Network Mimicking Cellular Adaptivity

Inspired by this elegant system of cellular adaptivity, we herein report the rational design of a dynamic artificial adaptive system able to sense and respond to environmental stresses in a unique sense-and-respond mode. Utilizing DNA nanotechnology, we constructed an artificial signal feedback network and anchored it to the surface membrane of a model giant membrane vesicle (GMV) protocell. Such a system would need to both senses incoming stimuli and emit a feedback response to eliminate the stimuli. To accomplish this mechanistically, our DNA-based artificial signal system, hereinafter termed DASsys, was equipped with a DNA trigger-induced DNA polymer formation and dissociation machinery. Thus, through a sequential cascade of stimulus-induced DNA strand displacement, DASsys could effectively sense and respond to incoming stimuli. Then, by eliminating the stimulus, the membrane surface would return to its initial state, realizing the formation of a cyclical feedback mechanism. Overall, our strategy opens up a route to the construction of artificial signaling system capable of maintaining homeostasis in the cellular micromilieu, and addresses important emerging challenges in bioinspired engineering.