Self-reproduction of supramolecular giant vesicles combined with the amplification of encapsulated DNA
The construction of a protocell from a materials point of view is important in understanding the origin of life. Both self-reproduction of a compartment and self-replication of an informational substance have been studied extensively, but these processes have typically been carried out independently, rather than linked to one another. Here, we demonstrate the amplification of DNA (encapsulated guest) within a self-reproducible cationic giant vesicle (host). With the addition of a vesicular membrane precursor, we observe the growth and spontaneous division of the giant vesicles, accompanied by distribution of the DNA to the daughter giant vesicles. In particular, amplification of the DNA accelerated the division of the giant vesicles. This means that self-replication of an informational substance has been linked to self-reproduction of a compartment through the interplay between polyanionic DNA and the cationic vesicular membrane. Our self-reproducing giant vesicle system therefore represents a step forward in the construction of an advanced model protocell.