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iGEM ESBS-Strasbourg - Flickriver



The aim of our project is to engineer a light-inducible degradation system as a new fundamental component that can be easily used to build more complex biological circuits inside chassis organisms. This new component consists of the bacterial protease ClpXP from Escherichia Coli fused to the photoreceptor protein phytochrome B of Arabidopsis thaliana. The degradation system is universally applicable to any given protein by addition of a specially designed Biobrick containing the phytochrome interacting factor (PIF3/6) and a specific degradation sequence (DAS-tag). This Biobrick can be added to the C-terminal of the target protein by standard assembly methods. Illumination of red light (660nm) induces a conformational change in phytochrome B and activates the system, an impulse of far-red light (730nm) leads to disruption of the degradation. This allows a tight control over the catalytic activity, enabling the modulation of protein function in a general fashion with the combined characteristics of specificity, high temporal precision and rapid reversibility.

ESBS-Strasbourg Team

We are a student-run team from the trinational graduate school "École supérieur de Biotechnologie Strasbourg" (ESBS) located in the capital of Europe - Strasbourg, France. The ESBS is a joint-venture of the Universities of Freiburg and Karlsruhe in Germany, the University of Bale in Switzerland and the University of Strasbourg in France. Students come from all four partner universities and furthermore from all around the three countries.

This is the second year that the ESBS-Strasbourg participates in the iGEM competition. Our team consists of 12 students coming from different scientific backgrounds prior to the ESBS. This will help us to deal with the difficulties coming up during this interdisciplinary project. Our shared education at the ESBS however enables us to communicate more easily with each other. An overview of the people involved and our competences can be found on the team page.


iGEM (international Genetically Engineered Machines) is a competition organized by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in Boston, USA, since 2004 and has become one of the largest international competitions in the field of science. This year 128 teams of undergraduate students compete against each other, and for the second time ESBS-Strasbourg team is joining this competition.

Synthetic biology is a new area of biological research that combines science and engineering. Synthetic biology encompasses a variety of different approaches, methodologies and disciplines. We can define the synthetic biology as the design and (re)construction of new biological functions and systems not found in nature.

Similar to the construction of a car, Synthetic Biology uses simple gene building blocks for the construction of new complex systems with distinct functions. These gene building blocks are collected in a database by iGEM and can be used by all participants of the competition. So far, the collection contains more than 13,000 gene building blocks, due to the continuous development of new parts over the last years. This summer all teams work on self-developed projects which will then be presented in the beginning of November at the “Jamboree” in Boston. Several prizes in different categories will be awarded.


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