Exploring the Design Rules for Efficient Membrane-Reshaping Nanostructures

Evolving cell-reshaping nanostructures in sillico

Evolutionary algorithms take their inspiration from how natural evolution improves the design of living organisms for a certain function. They have been applied to a wide array of engineering problems, from the design of aircraft to the design of artificial muscles.

In our study we couple an evolutionary algorithm to computer simulations to design nanoscale objects that reliably cross a cell membrane in a form of a vesicle. We simulate the performance of the objects, and then allow the best performing ones to mutate and exchange "genes" to be able to improve their cell-crossing performance. By following this evolution in silico we were able to identify new and superior design rules that can explain several membrane-reshaping nanostructures found in nature and help design artificial membrane-crossing vehicles as well as inhibitors of viral entry.

https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.125.228101

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