The bottom-up branch of synthetic biology includes-among others-innovative studies that combine cell-free protein synthesis with liposome technology to generate cell-like systems of minimal complexity, often referred to as synthetic cells. The functions of this type of synthetic cell derive from gene expression, hence they can be programmed in a modular, progressive and customizable manner by means of ad hoc designed genetic circuits. This experimental scenario is rapidly expanding and synthetic cell research already counts numerous successes. Here, we present a review focused on the exchange of chemical signals between liposome-based synthetic cells (operating by gene expression) and biological cells, as well as between two populations of synthetic cells. The review includes a short presentation of the "molecular communication technologies," briefly discussing their promises and challenges.
Rampioni, G., D'Angelo, F., Leoni, L., Stano, P. (2019). Gene-expressing liposomes as synthetic cells for molecular communication studies. FRONTIERS IN BIOENGINEERING AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, 7(1) [10.3389/fbioe.2019.00001].