The fabrication of size-scalable liquid compartments is a topic of fundamental importance in syntheticbiology, aiming to mimic the structures and the functions of cellular compartments. Here, inkjetprinting is demonstrated as a customizable approach to fabricate aqueous compartments at differentsize regimes (from nanoliter to femtoliter scale) revealing the crucial role of size in governing theemerging of new properties. At first, inkjet printing is shown to produce homogenous aqueouscompartments stabilized by oil-confinement with mild surfactants down to the hundreds of picoliterscale . Raster Image Correlation Spectroscopy allows to monitor few intermolecular events by theinvolvement of protein-binding assays within these compartments . Subsequently, in order toreduce droplet size at values below the nozzle size, a theoretical model from Eggers et al.  isexperimentally reproduced permitting to obtain femtoliter-scale aqueous droplets from picoliter-scalemicrochannels . As a remarkable difference to picoliter scale droplets, downscaling at thefemtoliter-size triggers the spontaneous formation of molecularly crowded shell structures at thewater/oil interface stabilized by a mixture of biocompatible surfactants. The shells have typicalthickness in order of hundreds of nanometers, in accordance with theoretical models . Molecularcrowding effects in these systems are tested by using fluorescence lifetime imaging under the phasorplot approach , revealing different characteristic lifetimes of specific probe molecules in theconfined volumes with respect to bulk solutions. The femtoliter-scale compartments autonomouslytrigger the formation of unique features (e.g., up-concentration, spatial heterogeneity, molecular proximity) that are mediated by the intermolecular interactions in these novel environments, ultimately permitting to mimic the native conditions of sub-cellular scale compartments. The crowding conditions in femtoliter-scale droplets do not to affect the conformation variation of a model DNA hairpin in presence of molecular triggers and of a CYP2E1-catalyzed enzymatic reaction. Our results can be a first step towards the fabrication of size-scalable lab-on-a-chip compartments mimicking sub-cellular environments.References1. G. Arrabito, F. Cavaleri, V. Montalbano, V. Vetri, M. Leone, B. Pignataro, Lab on Chip, 2016, 16,4666.2. M.A. Digman, C. M. Brown, A. R. Horwitz,W.W. Mantulin, and E. Gratton, Biophysical Journal,2016, 94, 2819.3. J. Eggers, Phys. Rev. Lett. 1993, 71, 3458.4. G. Arrabito, F. Cavaleri, A. Porchetta, F. Ricci, V. Vetri, M. Leone, B. Pignataro, Adv. Biosys.2019, 1900023.5. M. Staszak, J. Surfactants Deterg., 2016, 19, 297.6. C. Stringari, A. Cinquin, O. Cinquin, M. A. Digman, P.J. Donovan, and E. Gratton, Proc. Natl.Acad. Sci. USA 2011, 108, 13582.
|Title of host publication||FISMAT 2019 Book of Abstracts|
|Number of pages||2|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|