BioSysBio:abstracts/2007/iGEM2006 Imperial College

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==Engineering a synthetic molecular oscillator based on the Lotka-Volterra dynamic.==
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=Engineering a synthetic molecular oscillator based on the lotka volterra dynamic model=
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'''Author(s): '''[[IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006|I. CoLi Team 2006]] - Christin Sander, Farah Vohra, John Chattaway, Tom Hinson, John Sy, Jiongjun Bai, Jonathan Wells, Deepti Aswani, Vincent Rouilly, Chueh-Loo Poh, Matthieu Bultelle, Kirsten Jensen, David Mann, Paul Freemont, Richard Kitney. <br>
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'''Author(s): '''[[User:your_oww_username|your_full_name]]<br>  
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'''Affiliations:''' Imperial College London, UK<br>
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'''Affiliations:''' Your_University  <br>
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'''Contact:'''email: r.kitney(_at_)imperial.ac.uk <br>
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'''Contact:'''email: your_e-mail <br>
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'''Keywords:''' 'Biological Oscillator' 'Lotka Volterra' 'iGEM 2006'  
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'''Keywords:''' 'add-keyword_1' 'add_keyword_2' 'add_keyword_3' 'add_keyword_4'  
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[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords add_keyword_1]]  
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[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords iGEM]]  
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[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords add_keyword_2]]
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[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords Synthetic Biology]]
[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords add_keyword_3]]
[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords add_keyword_3]]
[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords add_keyword_4]]
[[Category:BioSysBio Keywords add_keyword_4]]
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==Background/Introduction==
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=Abstract=
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Oscillators and oscillatory systems are ubiquitous in everyday life, from the alternating current electricity that we use to the circadian rhythms that control our sleep and wake cycle.  Already, synthetic biology has begun to take on the challenge of creating the first biological computer, starting with ETH Zurich’s 2005 iGEM competition entry for creating a biological NOR logic gate and a two bit counter as well as Harvard’s BioWire design concept to transmit a signal down a length of bacteria.  In computers, clocks are used to synchronise the components in order to prevent overflow of information within the system.  On a broader scale, these clocks synchronise time around the world and are also used to determine the winner of eBay bids accurate to seconds, perhaps a more recognisable example to our modern life.
 
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Why would we want to create a biological computer?  Consider first the human brain, a complex network of cells intercommunicating to create our thoughts and conduct the human body symphoniously.  If we can mimic this type of system in other non-neural type cells, we might be able to harness the massive scale parallel computing power inherent to biological systems.
 
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Once we are able to create a biological oscillator, we can then move to synchronise several biological computers paving the way for an internet-like system controlled by bacteria. Further developments in biological to electrical interfacing could mean that communication between electrical devices and biological devices would be seamless. This can potentially integrate the existing infrastructure and novel biological approaches so the current technology would not be drastically displaced, but gradually replaced by biological machines. Moreover, the quest for self-reproducing machines has finally succeeded.   Wouldn't it be great if our computers upgraded themselves?  Made themselves faster every 30 mintutes?  Genetically engineered bacteria indeed have this potential and are only limited by their lifespan and the biological reaction rates. Unfortunately, biological reaction rates are relatively slow when compared to electrical signals, but consider 100 years ago when we knew very little about electricity and how to harness the power of electricity. Biological engineering is at that stage now, and we cannot expect to surpass in a few years the engineering foundations that have been perfected throughout the ages.  
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==Background==
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Oscillators are a fundamental building block in many engineering fields, as they provide the basis for counting, timing and synchronisation. Oscillators are found in many everyday devices such as clocks, computers or radios. Similarly, oscillations are an essential part of biological systems - providing the basis for, for example, rhythmic patterns and regulatory networks. The ability to build a stable, controllable biological oscillator would be a major step towards reliable synthetic biology based circuits.
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Elowitz et. al. were part of the first ones to try to build an oscillator. Their oscillator was based on genetic network at the single cell level. However, due to the stochastic behaviour inherent at the gene expression level, the oscillations were not stable or persistent([http://www.openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/Bibliography_%26_Papers#Oscillators refs.]). In this paper, we present an original oscillator design produced during the iGEM-2006 competition at Imperial College. The project addressed stability and reliability issues by defining an oscillator at the population level and by applying strict engineering rules to the system development process.
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Stable biological oscillations are seen to be produced with accuracy in predator-prey relationships, where we assume an exponential growth of prey and insatiable predators.  The Lotka-Voltarra model for predator-prey interaction can be implemented given certain assumptions and given that we are able to find biological equivalents to predator and prey.  Of course, a molecular predator-prey system would have different assumptions and thus different equations, but the fundamental predator-prey relationship can still hold.  The assumptions and adaptations to the Lotka-Volterra system will be discussed further in the modelling document.  Once we find molecules that can act similarly to predator-prey interactions, the next step is to successfully implement the system into bacteria!
 
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==Results==
 
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Add your text here
 
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==Images/Tables==
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==Methods==
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Add your images or tables here
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[[Image:iGEM_IMPERIAL_Methodology.png|thumb|right|150px|Fig. 1: Illustration of the Methodology]]
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This iGEM project combined genetic engineering methods with a clearly defined development cycle, copied from the traditional engineering approach - a cycle of specification, [http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/Oscillator/Design design], [http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/Oscillator/Modelling modelling], [http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/parts testing] and [http://www.openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/Ligation_Page implementation] - with biological processes to produce a synthetic biological oscillator.<br>
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The overall specification aim was to build a biological oscillator in E.Coli based on the Lotka-Volterra population dynamics. This approach was used to design a synthetic quorum sensing & quenching mechanism, made of BioBricks ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/Oscillator/Design design page]). In order to satisfy the requirements for the Lotka-Volterra predator-prey dynamics BioBricks were constructed to show properties such as exponential growth of a prey molecule (Acyl Homoserine Lactone) ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/Oscillator/Parts parts page]).
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In order to reduce the complexity of the overall assembly, test constructs were built to characterise the different system components. Because the design comprises BioBricks in a two population system, the parameters of the oscillations can be controlled to achieve synchronised oscillations. Furthermore, since the system uses population wide oscillations, it enables other devices to synchronise the oscillator.
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It is important to determine the component properties and their impact on the overall system. Hence, the modelling of the pure and modified Lotka-Volterra dynamics, along with the test constructs, were carried out. Because BioBricks were used in the design, the implementation was carried out with standard [http://www.openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/Ligation_Page assembly]. At the testing stage, the test constructs were characterised ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/Protocols protocols page]). Consequently, the properties and constraints on the full system could be extracted. (See a summary of the method below.)
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==Results==
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BioBricks composing the test constructs and the final oscillator were engineered and a number of important results were extracted from the modelling and testing stages: i) The test constructs/BioBricks representing the different parts of the oscillator were characterised from testing in E.Coli (DH5α) ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/parts testing page]). ii) The model of the test constructs, which included experimental data, predicted stable oscillations as output of the full system ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/Oscillator/Modelling modelling pages]). iii) The influence of specific system parameters on the frequency, amplitude and stability of the oscillations was investigated with the Lotka-Volterra model ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/project/Oscillator/Modelling/LV LV model]).
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==Materials/Methods==
 
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==Conclusion==
==Conclusion==
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In the project, fundamental units of the system were fabricated and characterised. These have been added to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006/Contributions Contributions page]). The modelling exercise was highly successful and we fully expect to complete a stable synthetic biology based oscillator to be completed in the near future.
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==References==
 
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For further help on editing, please see [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Editing here]
 
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__NOTOC__
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For full details visit our openwetware project site ([http://openwetware.org/wiki/IGEM:IMPERIAL/2006 OWW]).
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==A Summary of Our Methods==
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{| border="1" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0" align="left" style="width:100%"
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|-
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| colspan="2" style="background:#efefef;" | '''SPECIFICATIONS'''
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|-
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| [[Image:Designdocfig4.png|thumb|200px|center|Fig. 2: Biological oscillator]]
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* Deliver a stable biological oscillator.
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* Measurable output.
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* Frequency and amplitude tunable.
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* Produce documentation at each step for quality control and traceability purposes.
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|-
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| colspan="2" style="background:#efefef;" | '''DESIGN'''
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|-
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| [[Image:PreyPredatorCellsmall.PNG|thumb|200px|center|Fig. 3: Design showing the two-population system and the BioBricks within each cell]]
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* Based on Lotka-Volterra dynamic.
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* Use of Quorum sensing-quenching BioBricks from MIT Registry.
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* Population wide oscillations of AHL.
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* Two cell population system defined to be able to tune frequency and amplitude.
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* Definition of test constructs to break down complexity and to allow fine characterization.
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|-
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| colspan="2" style="background:#efefef;" | '''MODELLING'''
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|-
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| [[Image:FullSystemModel.PNG|thumb|200px|center|Fig. 4: Full system model in cell designer and its output, showing oscillations]]
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* Test construct modelling.
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* Investigation of the Lotka-Volterra dynamic.
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* Full system modelling.
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|-
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| colspan="2" style="background:#efefef;" | '''IMPLEMENTATION'''
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|-
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| [[Image:Ligation chart 10 aug.JPG|thumb|160px|center|Fig. 5: Overview of the ligations]]
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* Based on BioBricks.
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* Use of the Standard Assembly.
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* Quality control procedure based on sequencing.
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|-
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| colspan="2" style="background:#efefef;" | '''TESTING-VALIDATION'''
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|-
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| [[Image:J37016graph2.PNG|thumb|200px|center|Fig. 6: Representative testing result for one of the testing constructs]]
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* Definition of testing protocols to satisfy specifications.
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* Characterisation of the different test construts.
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* Characterisation of the two-cell population oscillator
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|}
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<br>

Current revision

Engineering a synthetic molecular oscillator based on the Lotka-Volterra dynamic.

Author(s): I. CoLi Team 2006 - Christin Sander, Farah Vohra, John Chattaway, Tom Hinson, John Sy, Jiongjun Bai, Jonathan Wells, Deepti Aswani, Vincent Rouilly, Chueh-Loo Poh, Matthieu Bultelle, Kirsten Jensen, David Mann, Paul Freemont, Richard Kitney.
Affiliations: Imperial College London, UK
Contact:email: r.kitney(_at_)imperial.ac.uk
Keywords: 'Biological Oscillator' 'Lotka Volterra' 'iGEM 2006'

Abstract

Background

Oscillators are a fundamental building block in many engineering fields, as they provide the basis for counting, timing and synchronisation. Oscillators are found in many everyday devices such as clocks, computers or radios. Similarly, oscillations are an essential part of biological systems - providing the basis for, for example, rhythmic patterns and regulatory networks. The ability to build a stable, controllable biological oscillator would be a major step towards reliable synthetic biology based circuits. Elowitz et. al. were part of the first ones to try to build an oscillator. Their oscillator was based on genetic network at the single cell level. However, due to the stochastic behaviour inherent at the gene expression level, the oscillations were not stable or persistent(refs.). In this paper, we present an original oscillator design produced during the iGEM-2006 competition at Imperial College. The project addressed stability and reliability issues by defining an oscillator at the population level and by applying strict engineering rules to the system development process.


Methods

Fig. 1: Illustration of the Methodology
Fig. 1: Illustration of the Methodology

This iGEM project combined genetic engineering methods with a clearly defined development cycle, copied from the traditional engineering approach - a cycle of specification, design, modelling, testing and implementation - with biological processes to produce a synthetic biological oscillator.

The overall specification aim was to build a biological oscillator in E.Coli based on the Lotka-Volterra population dynamics. This approach was used to design a synthetic quorum sensing & quenching mechanism, made of BioBricks (design page). In order to satisfy the requirements for the Lotka-Volterra predator-prey dynamics BioBricks were constructed to show properties such as exponential growth of a prey molecule (Acyl Homoserine Lactone) (parts page). In order to reduce the complexity of the overall assembly, test constructs were built to characterise the different system components. Because the design comprises BioBricks in a two population system, the parameters of the oscillations can be controlled to achieve synchronised oscillations. Furthermore, since the system uses population wide oscillations, it enables other devices to synchronise the oscillator.

It is important to determine the component properties and their impact on the overall system. Hence, the modelling of the pure and modified Lotka-Volterra dynamics, along with the test constructs, were carried out. Because BioBricks were used in the design, the implementation was carried out with standard assembly. At the testing stage, the test constructs were characterised (protocols page). Consequently, the properties and constraints on the full system could be extracted. (See a summary of the method below.)


Results

BioBricks composing the test constructs and the final oscillator were engineered and a number of important results were extracted from the modelling and testing stages: i) The test constructs/BioBricks representing the different parts of the oscillator were characterised from testing in E.Coli (DH5α) (testing page). ii) The model of the test constructs, which included experimental data, predicted stable oscillations as output of the full system (modelling pages). iii) The influence of specific system parameters on the frequency, amplitude and stability of the oscillations was investigated with the Lotka-Volterra model (LV model).


Conclusion

In the project, fundamental units of the system were fabricated and characterised. These have been added to the Registry of Standard Biological Parts (Contributions page). The modelling exercise was highly successful and we fully expect to complete a stable synthetic biology based oscillator to be completed in the near future.


For full details visit our openwetware project site (OWW).


A Summary of Our Methods

SPECIFICATIONS
Fig. 2: Biological oscillator
Fig. 2: Biological oscillator
  • Deliver a stable biological oscillator.
  • Measurable output.
  • Frequency and amplitude tunable.
  • Produce documentation at each step for quality control and traceability purposes.
DESIGN
Fig. 3: Design showing the two-population system and the BioBricks within each cell
Fig. 3: Design showing the two-population system and the BioBricks within each cell
  • Based on Lotka-Volterra dynamic.
  • Use of Quorum sensing-quenching BioBricks from MIT Registry.
  • Population wide oscillations of AHL.
  • Two cell population system defined to be able to tune frequency and amplitude.
  • Definition of test constructs to break down complexity and to allow fine characterization.
MODELLING
Fig. 4: Full system model in cell designer and its output, showing oscillations
Fig. 4: Full system model in cell designer and its output, showing oscillations
  • Test construct modelling.
  • Investigation of the Lotka-Volterra dynamic.
  • Full system modelling.
IMPLEMENTATION
Fig. 5: Overview of the ligations
Fig. 5: Overview of the ligations
  • Based on BioBricks.
  • Use of the Standard Assembly.
  • Quality control procedure based on sequencing.
TESTING-VALIDATION
Fig. 6: Representative testing result for one of the testing constructs
Fig. 6: Representative testing result for one of the testing constructs
  • Definition of testing protocols to satisfy specifications.
  • Characterisation of the different test construts.
  • Characterisation of the two-cell population oscillator


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