We modified six plant vectors to be compatible with BioBrick Standard 21. We successfully cloned several parts into the expression series vectors V9 (BBa_K382002) and V10 (BBa_K382003), transformed the plasmids into Agrobacterium, and grew colonies that showed proper antibiotic resistance.
open series click to enlarge
reporter series click to enlarge
expression series click to enlarge
The two flavors that are currently ready for transformation into plants are the "taste-inverter" miraculin (BBa_K382021) and the sweetener brazzein (BBa_K382020). Given the long time-frame of plant transformation we used two different assays in E. Coli to confirm that our proteins could indeed be transcribed and translated. The results of those assays are shown here.
confirmation with 2xYFP tags
In order to confirm that the miraculin and brazzein are able to be expressed in E. Coli we attached a 2xYFP tag sequence to both the N- and C-terminus of each protein. The proteins were placed under an IPTG-expressible promoter and used spectrophotometry to determine the level of YFP fluorescence against a baseline, untagged protein. Figure 1 shows relative-fluorescence at times post induction. In all circumstances the levels of YFP-fluorescence increased.
Figure 1 click to enlarge
confirmation by western blot
A western blot assay was performed to check for E. Coli expression of miraculin and brazzein. Proteins tagged at either the N- or C- terminus were placed under the control of an IPTG-inducible promoter. In the miraculin assay, no protein expression was seen. It is possible that the protein does not express well in E. Coli, or that the plant-specific codon optimization of the proteins resulted in reduced expressibility. Brazzein, specifically C-terminus tagged brazzein was seen to be highly expressed in E. Coli.
Figure 2 click to enlarge
induction of barnase (death gene) reduces cell growth
We characterized the activity of Barnase on an inducible plasmid constructed by UC Berkeley for iGEM 2007 (part I716408C). This contruct works by expressing background levels of Barstar with Barnase controlled by an arabinose inducible promoter such that it will overwhelm Barstar when induced. Higher levels of Barnase expression resulted in lower rates of growth in the bacteria, affirming the principle of Barnase-based growth control for the genetic fence, and confirming the results from Berkeley 2007. We characterized the growth repression of Barnase under a range of arabinose inducer concentrations.
Our results show that expression of Barnase is effective in reducing cell growth, suggesting that Barnase will enable the genetic fence to prevent growth of iGarden plants outside of their designated areas.
Parts transferred to the Agrobacterium shuttle chassis
We transformed 11 completed vectors into Agrobacterium and successfully isolated clones:
- miraculin expression
- brazzein expression
expression in arabidopsis
We are still waiting for the plants to grow to a size large enough that we can collect samples to verify expression, but we have selected for plants that have integrated the herbicide resistance marker along with the miraculin and brazzein expression constructs.
RNAi knockdown controls
- amiRNA GFP knockdown: this vector will allow us to visualize RNAi knock-down of fluorescence
allergy parts for RNAi targeting of several panallergen homologs in Arabidopsis
- LTP amiRNA
- LTP hpRNA
- Ger3 hpRNA
- Bet v 1 hpRNA
expression in arabidopsis (Kan resistance)
- LUT2 amiRNA: lycopene accumulation and red flowers
- LYC amiRNA: lycopene accumulation and red flowers
- Beta Ohase I amiRNA: beta carotene accumulation and orange flowers
expression in arabidopsis (Kan resistance)
Beta Ohase I
All 11 vectors were transformed into Arabidopsis, the expression chassis. A complete list of these parts and other parts built and submitted to the registry, please check out our parts page.
Because plants take a long time to grow, we were unfortunately unable to verify the function of our parts in Arabidopsis. As soon as we have a sufficient amount of plant tissue, we can confirm that the plants growing on selective plates are transformed via PCR. Alternatively, the GFP knockdown plants should be identifiable by their loss of fluorescence. Stay updated with our results after the Jamboree by checking out our OpenWetWare page.