Acceleration of lipid reproduction by emergence of microscopic motion

Dhanya Babu, Robert J.H. Scanes, Rémi Plamont, Alexander Ryabchun, Federico Lancia, Tibor Kudernac, Stephen P. Fletcher*, Nathalie Katsonis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Self-reproducing molecules abound in nature where they support growth and motion of living systems. In artificial settings, chemical reactions can also show complex kinetics of reproduction, however integrating self-reproducing molecules into larger chemical systems remains a challenge towards achieving higher order functionality. Here, we show that self-reproducing lipids can initiate, sustain and accelerate the movement of octanol droplets in water. Reciprocally, the chemotactic movement of the octanol droplets increases the rate of lipid reproduction substantially. Reciprocal coupling between bond-forming chemistry and droplet motility is thus established as an effect of the interplay between molecular-scale events (the self-reproduction of lipid molecules) and microscopic events (the chemotactic movement of the droplets). This coupling between molecular chemistry and microscopic motility offers alternative means of performing work and catalysis in micro-heterogeneous environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2959
Number of pages7
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2021

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