University of Bordeaux, France
Keynote Speaker for MaxSynBio
Jean-Christophe Baret is Professor at the Univ. Bordeaux and group leader at CNRS-CRPP. He is member of the Institut Universitaire de France.
Keynote Presentation: Miniaturizing and Integrating Metabolic processes in artificial microcompartments using microfluidics
Abstract: Self-sustained metabolic pathways in microcompartments are the corner-stone for living systems. From a technological viewpoint, such pathways are a mandatory prerequisite for the reliable design of artificial cells functioning out-of-equilibrium. We develop microfluidic platforms for the miniaturization and analysis of metabolic pathways in man-made compartments formed of water-in-oil droplets. In a modular approach, we integrate in microcompartments biochemical modules serving as a minimal metabolic units. We show that the functionalized microcompartments sustain a metabolically active state until the substrate is fully consumed. Reversibly, the external addition of the substrate reboots the metabolic activity of the microcompartments back to an active state. We control the metabolic state of thousands of independent monodisperse microcompartments, a step of relevance for the construction of large populations of metabolically active artificial cells. To go one step further, we show that photoresponsive systems can be integrated into man-made compartments together with artificial metabolic pathways for CO2 fixation. Our microfluidic approach therefore enables the preparation of large controlled populations of droplets functioning as artificial chloroplasts. In the long run, these systems and approaches based on microfluidics should serve as a basis to construct articial cell mimics from the bottom-up.