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Revision as of 08:43, 15 July 2010

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Hello guys, we're igemers from team ZJU-China, who are young researchers in synthetic biology. It's our first time to take part in iGEM. We hope we can bring you a new brainstorm in iGEM2010! We love iGEM!

We'd like to share ideas with you. Here are our team's 3 primary projects.


Project descriptions:

1. Biobrick optimizer

This project mainly targets at a quantitative analysis and prediction of translation rates through RIPS, ribosomal initiation per second, which hasn’t been well characterized and utilized in synthetic biology. Taking into consideration of codon usage, mRNA secondary structure, repetitive sequences and other main factors in this process, we aim to build a model on predicting translation rates through varying different levels of RIPS and correspondingly design certain software for application. Necessary experiments in wet lab would also be carried out for verification. We believe, by the combination of POPs and RIPs, the construction of a more predictable, complex and systematic genetic circuit would be possible, in which biobricks can be redesigned and optimized for the desired performance of the system quantitatively, another step towards standardization.

2. Auto-regulating biofuel machine

As fossil fuels are running out, more and more attention has been focused on the adoption of biofuel nowadays for relieving energy stress. Researchers have designed many modified microbial machines to produce fuels like hydrogen and ethanol. However, the lack of systematic reconstruction of microbes has made industrial fermentation incapable of regulating itself to promptly adapt to the changing environment.

We plan to design a microbial machine which can spontaneously regulate the production of fuel according to nutrients around it. The machine can use cellulose from periphery, decompose it to glucose with manipulated cellulose, ferment the glucose and finally produce fuels such as alcohol. We want to transfer a series of operons, sensitive to glucose, to control cellulose expression. The expression will be inhibited when excessive glucose present, more than what the bacteria could use for alcohol fermentation, while increased when little glucose present. By the control of this negative feedback, the amount of glucose generated from cellulose will be finally regulated to be as much as that converted to ethanol, in which we wish to find an equilibrium to maximize the transformation efficiency.

3. Yeast olfactory sensing chip

We’re trying to make a yeast olfactory sensing chip by transferring olfactory G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) from mammals into yeasts, S. cerevisiae, which would result in a membrane voltage shift that could be detected by the microelectrode. In theory, each GPCR responds to gas molecules of a specific structure category, yet each gas molecule may stimulate more than one type of GPCRs. Thus, an olfactory sensing chip could be constructed of yeasts expressing different GPCRs of our interest, which largely depends on its application, forming unique tiny cells of the same GPCR expression yeasts. In the meantime, a mathematical model would also be built for signal processing. Then, by reading different combinations of the outcome from the chip, we’d be able to actually smell through the yeasts and discern gases of our interest in the air. However, the major task lies in how to increase our detector’s sensitivity to make it more competitive with other e-noses, which we hope to cover in this summer’s work.