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A challenging question in evolutionary theory is the origin of cell division and plausible molecular mechanisms involved. Here, we made the surprising observation that complexes formed by short alpha-helical peptides and oleic acid can create multiple membrane-enclosed spaces from a single lipid vesicle. The findings suggest that such complexes may contain the molecular information necessary to initiate and sustain this process. Based on these observations, we propose a new molecular model to understand protocell division.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Biol Evol

Publication Date





3083 - 3093


cell division, giant unilamellar vesicles, oleic acid, peptides, peptide–oleate complexes, phospholipids, protocells, Artificial Cells, Cell Division, Cytoplasmic Vesicles, Lactalbumin, Membranes, Oleic Acid, Peptides