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.

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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.)

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Online resources, including bibliography, weblinks and posters, for work with the simple plant system, Marchantia polymorpha.

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OpenLabTools: open technology in Cambridge


The OpenLabTools Project is a new initiative for the development of low cost and open access scientific tools at the University of Cambridge. With support from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, student projects include data acquisition, sensing, actuating, processing and 3D manufacturing, see the website.

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