Coupling information and container

Due to the nature of the container envisioned, the coupling of both the information and the metabolism pertains to preserving the integrity of the protocell during its life cycles. The concurrent function coupling is discussed in the other sections.

Fatty acid bilayers are forming two charged interfaces that surround a hydrophobic core (composed of the hydrocabon chains of the fatty acid molecules). Such a structure allows for two types of interactions: electrostatic and hydrophobic. While electrostatic interactions can lead to a significant increase of the location concentration of, e.g., the metabolic metal complex, this type of association is sensitive to dilution. Another approach to increasing the interactions between the container core and the components of the protocell consists in derivatizing them with hydrocarbon chains. These chains will insert in the hydrophobic core of the bilayers, thereby anchoring them tightly in our container. (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Example of an aqueous ruthenium catalyst complex soluble in aqueous environment (left) and its hydrophobic counterpart (right). In red, the hydrocabon chain serving as an anchor.

This strategy permitted in our case to increase not only the degree of interaction but also its half-life time. When using an information polymer, the same strategy could be applied. However multiple anchors on one one strand might be necessary.