Realization of a functional artificial cell, the so-called protocell, is a major challenge posed by synthetic biology. A subsequent goal is to use the protocellular units for the bottom-up assembly of prototissues. There is, however, a looming chasm in our knowledge between protocells and prototissues. In the present paper, we give a brief overview of the work on protocells to date, followed by a discussion on the rational design of key structural elements specific to linking two protocellular bilayers. We propose that designing synthetic parts capable of simultaneous insertion into two bilayers may be crucial in the hierarchical assembly of protocells into a functional prototissue.
© 2013 The Authors