Biological receptors allow cells in the natural world to respond to a variety of stimuli. The design of synthetic artificial receptors is one of the grand challenges of artificial biology. In the Zelikin lab this issue is being addressed by self-immolation chemistry.
In 2021  we designed an artificial apoptosis inducing receptor (dubbed AIR) via a chemical synthesis. This membrane anchored synthetic molecule could upon activation by a specific natural enzyme cause apoptosis in the cell in which it was situated.
The overall design of this artificial receptor was used to build a variety of different synthetic receptors that were able to respond to different stimuli and with different outputs, but all with the same scaffold.
1. Monge P, Løvschall KB, Søgaard AB, et al. Synthetic Artificial Apoptosis-Inducing Receptor for On-Demand Deactivation of Engineered Cells. Adv Sci. 2021;8(13):2004432. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.202004432