Team:UNAM-Genomics Mexico/Green Blue/Description


Revision as of 06:29, 2 August 2010 by Hmedina (Talk | contribs)


We decided to break down our device into 3 sub-devices: Reception, Emission, and Transmission. The rationale is as follows: the machinery that transforms the green input into chemical information is independent from the machinery that transforms chemical information into blue output, and both are quite different from what transmits the information. Therefore, we can work with & model these three sub-devices.

Green Reception

Green Reception is composed of a two-component system. Firstly, we have a sensing agent (CcaS). This protein shows two basal states, both with histidine kinase activities but each with an affinity for different substrates: a phenomenon known as photoconversion. We plan on using the Green phase regulator (CcaR) who happens to be a Transcription Factor.

When our regulator is in a phosphorilate state, it shows greater affinity for DNA. Thus it is active. The target promoter region has been recently identified. We thus plan on constructing our reporter genes under this promoter. Such a construction would be an <IF Light> logic gate. This system is quite similar to the EnvZ-OmpR system.

The input for this sub-device is light, the output is Polymerases per Second.

Blue Emission

Blue Emission is composed of a series of enzymes that generate light by the oxidation of a substrate. Our sub-device has 6 enzymes (LuxA, LuxB, LuxC, LuxD, LuxE, LumP), two catalyze the oxidation step (LuxA, LuxB), one adjusts the emission spectrum (LumP), and three generate and recycle the substrate (LuxC, LuxD, LuxE). We plan on having the adjusting enzyme, as well as the 3 regenerating enzymes expressed constitutively. We would then only use the oxidation enzymes as reporters for whatever event we are observing.

While the oxidation per se does not generate light, it does generate an intermediate molecule in an electronically exited state. When said molecule returns to a basal energy state, a photon is released. Likewise, LumP does not actually shift the spectrum, but the enzyme generates a substrate that does.

As you may imagine, these genes (sauf LumP) constitute an Operon. This is the Lux Operon from Vibrio fischeri. The input for this sub-device is Polymerases per Second, and the output is light.


We are planning on using two methods for transmitting light across our devices. The first is through mono-directional fiber optic cables connecting the beakers. The second is through a micro-controller coupled device. We still have to construct such a device though...

Signaling Cascade

When our device is struck by green light, the following cascade will ensure:

  • CcaS switches to Green conformation
  • Kinase activity starts
  • Phosphorilated CcaR concentration builds up
  • Transcription of genes downstream of target promoter: LuxA & LuxB
  • Oxidation of substrate
  • Light emission

Further Information

For Green Reception, see this paper.

For Blue Emission, see the work of Edinburgh 2009.



iGEM is the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition, held each year at MIT and organized with support of the Parts Registry. See more here.

Synthetic Biology

This is defined as attempting to manipulate living objects as if they were man-made machines, specifically in terms of genetic engineering. See more here.


We are students on the Genomic Sciences program at the Center for Genomic Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, campus Morelos. See more here.

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