A chemically fueled non-enzymatic bistable network

Indrajit Maity, Nathaniel Wagner, Rakesh Mukherjee, Dharm Dev, Enrique Peacock-Lopez, Rivka Cohen-Luria, Gonen Ashkenasy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


One of the grand challenges in contemporary systems chemistry research is to mimic life-like functions using simple synthetic molecular networks. This is particularly true for systems that are out of chemical equilibrium and show complex dynamic behaviour, such as multi-stability, oscillations and chaos. We report here on thiodepsipeptide-based non-enzymatic networks propelled by reversible replication processes out of equilibrium, displaying bistability. Accordingly, we present quantitative analyses of the bistable behaviour, featuring a phase transition from the simple equilibration processes taking place in reversible dynamic chemistry into the bistable region. This behaviour is observed only when the system is continuously fueled by a reducing agent that keeps it far from equilibrium, and only when operating within a specifically defined parameter space. We propose that the development of biomimetic bistable systems will pave the way towards the study of more elaborate functions, such as information transfer and signalling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4636
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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