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Jia, Haiyang; Kai, Lei; Heymann, Michael; Garcia-Soriano, Daniela A.; Härtel, Tobias; Schwille, Petra (2018): Light-Induced Printing of Protein Structures on Membranes in Vitro. In: Nano Letters, Vol. 18, No. 11: pp. 7133-7140
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Reconstituting functional modules of biological systems in vitro is an important yet challenging goal of bottom up synthetic biology, in particular with respect to their precise spatiotemporal regulation. One of the most desirable external control parameters for the engineering of biological systems is visible light, owing to its specificity and ease of defined application in space and time. Here we engineered the PhyB-PIF6 system to spatiotemporally target proteins by light onto model membranes and thus sequentially guide protein pattern formation and structural assembly in vitro from the bottom up. We show that complex micrometer-sized protein patterns can be printed on time scales of seconds, and the pattern density can be precisely controlled by protein concentration, laser power, and activation time. Moreover, when printing self-assembling proteins such as the bacterial cytoskeleton protein FtsZ, the targeted assembly into filaments and large-scale structures such as artificial rings can be accomplished. Thus, light mediated sequential protein assembly in cell-free systems represents a promising approach to hierarchically building up the next level of complexity toward a minimal cell.