Chemical communication between cell-sized reaction compartments

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The exchange of signals between information-processing agents is an important requirement for the coordination of their actions and may be utilized for the implementation of various “amorphous” computing schemes [1]. In biology, chemical interactions between cells are utilized, e.g., in differentiation and pattern formation, sensing and signaling. One of the most studied processes in bacteria is the “quorum sensing” phenomenon, in which bacteria exchange small diffusible genetic inducers and thus mutually influence their gene expression [2]. In this talk, we will discuss various implementations of synthetic chemical communication schemes between artificial cell-sized compartments, between bacteria, and also between bacteria and cell-free compartments [3–5]. In particular, we will discuss the production and detection of quorum sensing signals within emulsion droplets containing either genetically engineered bacteria or bacterial cell extract, and their utilization for simple computation and pattern formation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnconventional Computation and Natural Computation - 15th International Conference, UCNC 2016, Proceedings
EditorsAnne Condon, Martyn Amos
PublisherSpringer Verlag
ISBN (Print)9783319413112
StatePublished - 2016
Event15th International Conference on Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation, UCNC 2016 - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Jul 201615 Jul 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference15th International Conference on Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation, UCNC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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