Cambridge website for Synthetic Biology resources

www.synbio.org.uk

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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Production of amorphadiene in yeast, and its conversion to dihydroartemisinic acid, precursor to the antimalarial agent artemisinin

Production of amorphadiene in yeast, and its conversion to dihydroartemisinic acid, precursor to the antimalarial agent artemisinin [Applied Biological Sciences]: "Malaria, caused by Plasmodium sp, results in almost one million deaths and over 200 million new infections annually. The World Health Organization has recommended that artemisinin-based combination therapies be used for treatment of malaria. Artemisinin is a sesquiterpene lactone isolated from the plant Artemisia annua. However, the supply and price of artemisinin fluctuate greatly, and an alternative production method would be valuable to increase availability. We describe progress toward the goal of developing a supply of semisynthetic artemisinin based on production of the artemisinin precursor amorpha-4,11-diene by fermentation from engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and its chemical conversion to dihydroartemisinic acid, which can be subsequently converted to artemisinin. Previous efforts to produce artemisinin precursors used S. cerevisiae S288C overexpressing selected genes of the mevalonate pathway [Ro et al. (2006) Nature 440:940–943]. We have now overexpressed every enzyme of the mevalonate pathway to ERG20 in S. cerevisiae CEN.PK2, and compared production to CEN.PK2 engineered identically to the previously engineered S288C strain. Overexpressing every enzyme of the mevalonate pathway doubled artemisinic acid production, however, amorpha-4,11-diene production was 10-fold higher than artemisinic acid. We therefore focused on amorpha-4,11-diene production. Development of fermentation processes for the reengineered CEN.PK2 amorpha-4,11-diene strain led to production of > 40 g/L product. A chemical process was developed to convert amorpha-4,11-diene to dihydroartemisinic acid, which could subsequently be converted to artemisinin. The strains and procedures described represent a complete process for production of semisynthetic artemisinin."

(Via PNAS - RSS feed of Early Edition articles.)

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 http://www.eusynbios.org/students-and-postdocs/join 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.