Enzyme Mimic Facilitated Artificial Cell to Mammalian Cell Signal Transfer

Xiaomin Qian, Isabella Nymann Westensee, Catarina Cavalheiro Fernandes, Brigitte Städler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Catalyzing biochemical reactions with enzymes and communicating with neighboring cells via chemical signaling are two fundamental cellular features that play a critical role in maintaining the homeostasis of organisms. Herein, we present an artificial enzyme (AE) facilitated signal transfer between artificial cells (ACs) and mammalian HepG2 cells. We synthesize metalloporphyrins (MPs) based AEs that mimic cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) to catalyze a dealkylation and a hydroxylation reaction, exemplified by the conversion of resorufin ethyl ether (REE) to resorufin and coumarin (COU) to 7-hydroxycoumarin (7-HC), respectively. The AEs are immobilized in hydrogels to produce ACs that generate the two diffusive fluorophores, which can diffuse into HepG2 cells and result in dual intracellular emissions. This work highlights the use of AEs to promote AC to mammalian signal transfer, which opens up new opportunities for integrating the synthetic and living world with a bottom-up strategy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Pages (from-to)18704-18711
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • artificial cell
  • artificial enzyme
  • cytochrome P450 mimic
  • metalloporphyrins
  • signal transfer


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