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Bacteria clustering by polymers induces the expression of quorum-sensing-controlled phenotypes

Bacteria clustering by polymers induces the expression of quorum-sensing-controlled phenotypes | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
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*Changing the conversation*: *Polymers disrupt bacterial communication*

"Artificial materials based on simple synthetic polymers can disrupt the way in which bacteria communicate with each other, a study led by scientists at The University of Nottingham has shown.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, could further our knowledge on how better to control and exploit bacteria in the future and will have implications for work in the emerging field of synthetic biology.Professor Cameron Alexander, in the University's School of Pharmacy, led the study. He said: "This is an exciting and unexpected finding for us and comes as a result of research which was very much curiosity driven."It gives us more information about how to design artificial cells and to produce materials that will interact with microorganisms and control their behaviour, with a whole host of potential applications including drug discovery and energy production."The study, which also involved scientists from the universities of Birmingham and Newcastle, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and The University of Nottingham.As part of their research into the development of artificial cells and programmable bacterial coatings, the team found that polymers—long-chain molecules—that were able to arrange bacteria into clustered communities were, surprisingly, encouraging these bacteria to actively 'talk' to each other. This communication occurred by quorum sensing (QS), a way in which bacteria signal to each other, and coordinate response to environment. Quorum sensing also controls the way in which bacteria release certain types of molecules—for example as a defence mechanism or as tools for infection.This finding opens up the possibility to influence microbial behaviour by controlling their ability to form productive communities. This can be exploited to prevent the release of toxins during the spread of infection or, alternatively, the production of useful molecules which can act as drugs, food source or biofuels.The researchers used the bioluminescent marine bacterium Vibrio harveyi, as it allows them to easily track the changes in the bacteria's behaviour by measuring the pattern and intensity of the natural light produced by the organism.Building on some intriguing initial results, the team of pharmacists, microbiologists chemists and computer scientists were also able to produce computational models predicting and explaining the behaviour of the microbial communities, which were crucial to deduct simple design principles for the programmable interaction of bacteria and polymers.Overall, this research offers new understanding of bacterial community behaviour and will have implications in the design of materials as antimicrobials, for bioprocessing, biocomputation and, more generally, synthetic biology."


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*Bacteria clustering by polymers induces the expression of quorum-sensing-controlled phenotypes*

by
Leong T. Lui,Xuan Xue,Cheng Sui,Alan Brown,David I. Pritchard,Nigel Halliday,Klaus Winzer,Steven M. Howdle,Francisco Fernandez-Trillo,Natalio Krasnogor& Cameron Alexander

"Bacteria deploy a range of chemistries to regulate their behaviour and respond to their environment. Quorum sensing is one method by which bacteria use chemical reactions to modulate pre-infection behaviour such as surface attachment. Polymers that can interfere with bacterial adhesion or the chemical reactions used for quorum sensing are therefore a potential means to control bacterial population responses. Here, we report how polymeric ‘bacteria sequestrants’, designed to bind to bacteria through electrostatic interactions and therefore inhibit bacterial adhesion to surfaces, induce the expression of quorum-sensing-controlled phenotypes as a consequence of cell clustering. A combination of polymer and analytical chemistry, biological assays and computational modelling has been used to characterize the feedback between bacteria clustering and quorum sensing signalling. We have also derived design principles and chemical strategies for controlling bacterial behaviour at the population level."

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The Evolution of Genome Engineering - YouTube

Genome editing tools combine molecular biology and engineering principles, enabling researchers to study how the genome influences phenotype. This video illu...
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Synthetic biology needs a grand design vision - New Scientist

Synthetic biology needs a grand design vision - New Scientist | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
We can design a better future using biology, but we must consider the big questions first, says Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg
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Caution urged over editing DNA in wildlife (intentionally or not)

Caution urged over editing DNA in wildlife (intentionally or not) | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Caution urged over editing DNA in wildlife (intentionally or not)
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Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium

Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
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Ye Chen, Jae Kyoung Kim, Andrew J. Hirning, Krešimir Josić, Matthew R. Bennett

"A challenge of synthetic biology is the creation of cooperative microbial systems that exhibit population-level behaviors. Such systems use cellular signaling mechanisms to regulate gene expression across multiple cell types. We describe the construction of a synthetic microbial consortium consisting of two distinct cell types—an “activator” strain and a “repressor” strain. These strains produced two orthogonal cell-signaling molecules that regulate gene expression within a synthetic circuit spanning both strains. The two strains generated emergent, population-level oscillations only when cultured together. Certain network topologies of the two-strain circuit were better at maintaining robust oscillations than others. The ability to program population-level dynamics through the genetic engineering of multiple cooperative strains points the way toward engineering complex synthetic tissues and organs with multiple cell types."

http://bit.ly/1KpKUfy

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http://phys.org/news/2015-08-scientists-coli-cooperate-protein.html

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Searching big data faster

Searching big data faster | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Searching big data faster
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"Theoretical analysis could expand applications of accelerated searching in biology, other fields."

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So You Think You Can Synthesise - Series Finale

The Macquarie_Australia iGEM Team uses the popular reality format to inform and engage the public with our project The Solar Synthesisers. Our Project aims ...
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Researchers Want to Inject 3D Printed Microfish Into Your System

Researchers have developed a 3D printing technology that can produce microfish (fish-shaped microrobots) to be used for medical purposes.
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Is this the future of medicine?

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Generation of a synthetic GlcNAcylated nucleosome reveals regulation of stability by H2A-Thr101 GlcNAcylation

Nature Communications | doi:10.1038/ncomms8978
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Principles of Synthetic Biology

Principles of Synthetic Biology | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Learn how to engineer biological systems and program organisms to perform novel tasks.
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The emergence of commodity-scale genetic manipulation.

Since the 1970s technological advancements in the fields of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering have led to a dramatic reduction in both time and cost required for generating genomic mutations in a variety of organisms. The union of genomic editing machinery, DNA inkjet printers, and bioinformatics algorithms allows engineers to design a library of thousands of unique oligos as well as build and test these designs on a ∼2 months time-scale and at a cost of roughly ∼0.3 cents per base pair. The implications of these capabilities for a variety of fields are far-reaching, with potential impacts in defense, agricultural, human health, and environmental research. The explosion of synthetic biology applications over the past two decades have led many to draw parallels between biological engineering and the computer sciences. In this review, we highlight some important parallels between these fields and emphasize the importance of engineering design strategies.
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12 Months in Synthetic Biology — PLOS Synbio Field Reports

12 Months in Synthetic Biology — PLOS Synbio Field Reports | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
A brief review, a thank you, and an opportunity
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Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium | CodonOps

Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium | CodonOps | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Emergent genetic oscillations in a synthetic microbial consortium
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KAIST's mathematician reveals the mechanism for sustaining biological rhythms

KAIST's mathematician reveals the mechanism for sustaining biological rhythms | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
the mechanism for sustaining biological rhythms
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Tissue Engineering, Synthetic Biology & Bioprinting

Tissue Engineering, Synthetic Biology & Bioprinting | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Tissue Engineering Synthetic Biology Biofabrication Bioprinting 3D-Printing
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Researchers use DNA 'nanoclews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells

Researchers use DNA 'nanoclews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have for the first time created and used a nanoscale vehicle made of DNA to deliver a CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells in both cell culture and an animal model.
The CRISPR-Cas system, which is found in bacteria and archaea, protects bacteria from invaders such as viruses. It does this by creating small strands of RNA called CRISPR RNAs, which match DNA sequences specific to a given invader. When those CRISPR RNAs find a match, they unleash Cas9 proteins that cut the DNA. In recent years, the CRISPR-Cas system has garnered a great deal of attention in the research community for its potential use as a gene editing tool - with the CRISPR RNA identifying the targeted portion of the relevant DNA, and the Cas protein cleaving it.
But for Cas9 to do its work, it must first find its way into the cell. This work focused on demonstrating the potential of a new vehicle for directly introducing the CRISPR-Cas9 complex - the entire gene-editing tool - into a cell.
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Scientists modify E. coli to cooperate, control protein expression

Scientists modify E. coli to cooperate, control protein expression | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Rice University scientists have made a living circuit from multiple types of bacteria that prompts the bacteria to cooperate to change protein expression.
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Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas

Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas
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Harnessing Synthetic Biology to Combat Bacterial Pathogens - DVIDS (press release)

Harnessing Synthetic Biology to Combat Bacterial Pathogens - DVIDS (press release) | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Developed in the 1940s, antibiotics are powerful medicines used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infection to save lives.
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Accurate DNA Assembly and Genome Engineering with
Optimized Uracil Excision Cloning | CodonOps

Accurate DNA Assembly and Genome Engineering with<br/>Optimized Uracil Excision Cloning | CodonOps | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Ana Mafalda Cavaleiro, Se Hyeuk Kim, Susanna Seppälä, Morten T. Nielsen and Morten H. H. Nørholm
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Biohackers gear up for genome editing

Biohackers gear up for genome editing | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
Amateurs are ready and able to try the CRISPR technique for rewriting genes.
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Synthetic Biology Could Let Us Recycle Human Waste For Space Travel - The Escapist

The Escapist
Synthetic Biology Could Let Us Recycle Human Waste For Space Travel
The Escapist
One day, astronauts might recycle urine and carbon dioxide into highly necessary food and medicines for space missions.
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Virginia Tech-developed synthetic biology tool transitions to private sector

Virginia Tech-developed synthetic biology tool transitions to private sector | SynBioFromLeukipposInstitute | Scoop.it
GenoCAD, a computer-assisted design environment for synthetic biology developed at Virginia Tech, has transitioned to GenoFAB LLC to engage new users and create new opportunities for innovation.
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Jamie Metzl discusses human genetic engineering

Jamie Metzl discusses human genetic engineering
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