Cambridge website for Synthetic Biology resources

Compiled by Jim Haseloff at the University of Cambridge. SpannerPlantLogo140This site contains details of recent papers and activity in Synthetic Biology, with particular emphasis on: (i) development of standards in biology and DNA parts, (ii) microbial and (iii) plant systems, (iv) research and teaching in the field at the University of Cambridge, (v) hardware for scientific computing and instrumentation, (vi) tools for scientific productivity and collected miscellany.

Similar to the Cambridge-based Raspberry Pi and OpenLabTools initiatives, we promote the use of low cost and open source tools - in our case for use in biological engineering.

Google: Synthetic Biology news

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Deletion of the Cel48S cellulase from Clostridium thermocellum.

Deletion of the Cel48S cellulase from Clostridium thermocellum.: "Publication Date: 2010 Sep 13 PMID: 20837514
Authors: Olson, D. G. - Tripathi, S. A. - Giannone, R. J. - Lo, J. - Caiazza, N. C. - Hogsett, D. A. - Hettich, R. L. - Guss, A. M. - Dubrovsky, G. - Lynd, L. R.
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Clostridium thermocellum is a thermophilic anaerobic bacterium that rapidly solubilizes cellulose with the aid of a multienzyme cellulosome complex. Creation of knockout mutants for Cel48S (also known as CelS, S(S), and S8), the most abundant cellulosome subunit, was undertaken to gain insight into its role in enzymatic and microbial cellulose solubilization. Cultures of the Cel48S deletion mutant (S mutant) were able to completely solubilize 10 g/L crystalline cellulose. The cellulose hydrolysis rate of the S mutant strain was 60% lower than the parent strain, with the S mutant strain also exhibiting a 40% reduction in cell yield. The cellulosome produced by the S mutant strain was purified by affinity digestion, characterized enzymatically, and found to have a 35% lower specific activity on Avicel. The composition of the purified cellulosome was analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry with APEX quantification and no significant changes in abundance were observed in any of the major (>1% of cellulosomal protein) enzymatic subunits. Although most cellulolytic bacteria have one family 48 cellulase, C. thermocellum has two, Cel48S and Cel48Y. Cellulose solubilization by a Cel48S and Cel48Y double knockout was essentially the same as that of the Cel48S single knockout. Our results indicate that solubilization of crystalline cellulose by C. thermocellum can proceed to completion without expression of a family 48 cellulase.

(Via PNAS.)

Research news at Cambridge University

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European Association of Students & Postdocs in Synthetic Biology (EUSynBioS)

EUSynBioSprelimLogo240The European Association of Students & Postdocs in Synthetic Biology (EUSynBioS) invites you to join its pre-launch community. The EUSynBioS initiative seeks to shape and foster a network of young researchers active the nascent scientific discipline of synthetic biology within the European Union by means of providing an integrative central resource for interaction and professional development.

Key objectives of EUSynBioS include i) the implementation of a central web platform for sharing news and opportunities relevant to members of the community as well as for academic networking, ii) the arrangement and support of events for academic exchange and professional development, iii) liaison with representatives of industry, and iv) establishment of a primary contact for collaboration and exchange with related communities of synthetic biology students and postdocs abroad.

Registering as a member is free and can be completed within 30 seconds via the following link Students and postdocs who register as a EUSynBioS member will be able to:
o Access a large network of young researchers in synthetic biology for academic collaboration and exchange
o Share technical resources and teaching materials
o Stay informed about relevant events such as conferences, workshops, or social outings o Browse relevant jobs in academia and industry
o Use site visits and mentoring opportunities to interact with prospective employers
o Connect with members of related communities all over the world

By registering as a member prior to the official launch of EUSynBioS, you will not only make a statement of support which will have an impact on the resources available to the community in the future; you will also be given the chance to actively shape EUSynBioS right from the start, and have an edge when applying for a position on the Steering Committee. We are looking forward to your joining us ! Christian Boehm, University of Cambridge.