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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Genetic switchboard for synthetic biology applications.

Publication Date: 2012 Mar 27 PMID: 22454498
Authors: Callura, J. M. - Cantor, C. R. - Collins, J. J.
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

A key next step in synthetic biology is to combine simple circuits into higher-order systems. In this work, we expanded our synthetic riboregulation platform into a genetic switchboard that independently controls the expression of multiple genes in parallel. First, we designed and characterized riboregulator variants to complete the foundation of the genetic switchboard; then we constructed the switchboard sensor, a testing platform that reported on quorum-signaling molecules, DNA damage, iron starvation, and extracellular magnesium concentration in single cells. As a demonstration of the biotechnological potential of our synthetic device, we built a metabolism switchboard that regulated four metabolic genes, pgi, zwf, edd, and gnd, to control carbon flow through three Escherichia coli glucose-utilization pathways: the Embden-Meyerhof, Entner-Doudoroff, and pentose phosphate pathways. We provide direct evidence for switchboard-mediated shunting of metabolic flux by measuring mRNA levels of the riboregulated genes, shifts in the activities of the relevant enzymes and pathways, and targeted changes to the E. coli metabolome. The design, testing, and implementation of the genetic switchboard illustrate the successful construction of a higher-order system that can be used for a broad range of practical applications in synthetic biology and biotechnology.

post to: CiteULike

Genetic switchboard for synthetic biology applications.

(Via PNAS.)

Research news at Cambridge University

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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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