coacervate An aggregate of macromolecules, such as proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, that form a stable colloid unit with properties that resemble living matter. Many are coated with a lipid membrane and contain enzymes that are capable of converting such substances as glucose into more complex molecules, such as starch. Coacervate droplets arise spontaneously under appropriate conditions and may have been the prebiological systems from which living organisms originated.
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