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iGEM Panama

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Republic of Panama

Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south.


In this picture: Carolina, Yisett, Claudio, Nicole, Lorena, Grimaldo, Natasha, Laura, Ernesto, Dra. Carmenza, Dr. Rao, Ezequiel


In this picture: Yisett, Silke, Yaraví, Carlos, Dr. Patrick Nee.


In this picture: Leyda, Zeuz, Laura




Overall project

Standardization of the Rhamnosiltransferase 1 gene complex (rhlAB) into a Biobrick-friendly for rhamnolipid production in E. coli.

There is considerable interest among bio-industries in bioremediation products such as Rhamnolipids. Rhamnolipids as biosurfactants are important in the remediation of oil spill areas. The cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill with rhamnolipids as biosurfactants was too expensive and complicated, therefore impractical for large-scale bioremediation. However, advances in genetic engineering and synthetic biology offer a viable solution to oil spill pollution cleanup. In this project we modify a naturally occurring gene which synthesizes rhamnolipids to make it compatible with Assembly Standard 10 for rhamnosiltransferase 1 complex (rhlAB) gene expression in Escherichia coli for standardized rhamnolipid production. In this future, we will integrate this and other genetic parts to create an E. coli based factory for rhamnolipids. Some version of these devices may even include hydrocarbon sensors for Just In Time production of rhamnolipids.

Project Details

The Experiments

The purpose behind our project is to take a gene that produces the Rhamnosyltransferase 1 enzyme in a pathogenic bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and insert it into an efficient and not so pathogenic bacteria that is Escherichia coli. This will help biosynthezise a rhamnolipid that can aid in the more efficent degradation of hydrocarbons.

We'll start out by selecting the parts or components of our BioBrick which will be inserted into the E. coli for expresion of rhamnosyltranferase gene enzyme for rhamnolipid production. We have chosen a promoter, a RBS, a reporter and a terminator. All of the parts came from the collection of genetic parts that our friends at iGEM have conviniently sent all of us as a kit. Our chosen parts are well characterized and were been tested that works efficiently with the assembly standar protocol. Prior the assembling of the BioBrick, the plasmids that contain the Promoter, RBS, GFP and terminator will be used to obtain transformed bacteria so we can get a higher plasmid concentration. Now, we can't use the entire plasmid for our construction. The next step will be the plasmid DNA extraction from the E. coli(minipreparations) so we can to use them.

In the meantime, we have to obtain our gene from the P. aeruginosa. This bacteria was a kind donation of Marcelino Gutierrez, Ph.D, who is a researcher from the chemistry department at INDICASAT-AIP. The P. aeruginosa culture was given to us in media broth ready for extraction of genomic DNA, in order to minimized the manipulation of this bacteria. Our gene of interest will be yielded by performing a PCR.

Once we have this, we have to mutate the Rhamnosyltransferase 1 gene in order to eliminate the restriction sites of Pst1 that clashes with the iGEM disposition for design and BioBrick construction that indicates that our gene cannot be cut in any way by the restriction enzymes of the assembly standard protocol. This mutation will allow us to have the same gene without the restriction sites within our construct permitted. To resolve this issue we propose to do a multiple site mutagenesis.

In the end, we'll be able to ligate all the parts together to have one general section that contains the Promoter+RBS+ OUR GENE +Reporter+Terminator and EUREKA! we bring a new BioBrick ready to be characterized.


Part 3: Results

We were able to standardize the BioBrick extraction procedures and assembly of the parts once they were ready. Every time each of the parts had been cloned in the bacteria, we performed gel electrophoresis just to check if the transformation of the bacteria had taken place. We took colonies from each part and performed minipreparations and subsequent digestions. We then prepared an agarose gel and were able to see each of the parts. EUREKA!!! Once each of the parts were obtained, we were able to ligate them together (promoter + RBS and reporter + terminator) and this was confirmed by performing several gel electrophoresis.

We also were able to introduce the cloned rhlAB gene into the pGEMT Easy Vector.

Mutagenesis procedures