Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Artificial cells

Crowded genes perform differently

Macromolecular crowding affects the performance and robustness of gene expression in synthetic cellular systems.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Genetic processes in artificial cells.


  1. Noireaux, V., Maeda, Y. T. & Libchaber, A. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 3473–3480 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Hodgman, C. E. & Jewett, M. C. Metab. Eng. 14, 261–269 (2012).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Dix, J. A. & Verkman, A. S. Annu. Rev. Biophys. 37, 247–263 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Zhou, H.-X., Rivas, G. & Minton, A. P. Annu. Rev. Biophys. 37, 375–397 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Tan, C., Saurabh, S., Bruchez, M. P., Schwartz, R. & LeDuc, P. Nature Nanotech. 8, 602–608 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Elcock, A. H. Curr. Opin. Struct. Biol. 20, 196–206 (2010).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Schoen, I., Krammer, H. & Braun, D. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 106, 21649–21654 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Phillip, Y., Sherman, E., Haran, G. & Schreiber, G. Biophys. J. 97, 875–885 (2009).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Shimizu, Y., Kanamori, T. & Ueda, T. Methods 36, 299–304 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Shin, J. & Noireaux, V. ACS Synth. Biol. 1, 29–41 (2012).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Maeda, Y. T. et al. ACS Synth. Biol. 1, 53–59 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Friedrich C. Simmel.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Simmel, F. Crowded genes perform differently. Nature Nanotech 8, 545–546 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing: Translational Research

Sign up for the Nature Briefing: Translational Research newsletter — top stories in biotechnology, drug discovery and pharma.

Get what matters in translational research, free to your inbox weekly. Sign up for Nature Briefing: Translational Research