Bacterial Cell Culture at the Single-cell Level Inside Giant Vesicles

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We developed a method for culturing bacterial cells at the single-cell level inside giant vesicles (GVs). Bacterial cell culture is important for understanding the function of bacterial cells in the natural environment. Because of technological advances, various bacterial cell functions can be revealed at the single-cell level inside a confined space. GVs are spherical micro-sized compartments composed of amphiphilic lipid molecules and can hold various materials, including cells. In this study, a single bacterial cell was encapsulated into 10–30 μm GVs by the droplet transfer method and the GVs containing bacterial cells were immobilized on a supported membrane on a glass substrate. Our method is useful for observing the real-time growth of single bacteria inside GVs. We cultured Escherichia coli (E. coli) cells as a model inside GVs, but this method can be adapted to other cell types. Our method can be used in the science and industrial fields of microbiology, biology, biotechnology, and synthetic biology.