The Min biochemical network regulates bacterial cell division and is a prototypical example of self-organizing molecular systems. Cell-free assays relying on purified proteins have shown that MinE and MinD self-organize into surface waves and oscillatory patterns. In the context of developing a synthetic cell from elementary biological modules, harnessing Min oscillations might allow us to implement higher-order cellular functions. To convey hereditary information, the Min system must be encoded in a DNA molecule that can be copied, transcribed, and translated. Here, the MinD and MinE proteins are synthesized de novo from their genes inside liposomes. Dynamic protein patterns and accompanying liposome shape deformation are observed. When integrated with the cytoskeletal proteins FtsA and FtsZ, the synthetic Min system is able to dynamically regulate FtsZ patterns. By enabling genetic control over Min protein self-organization and membrane remodeling, our methodology offers unique opportunities towards directed evolution of bacterial division processes in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4969
Number of pages12
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 66537564