Molecular Prey-Predator Oscillator
|Final System|| Molecular Prey-Predator Oscillator |
|Final Constructs|| Prey construct |
|Test Constructs||Test Sensing Prey||Test Prey production||Test Sensing Predator||Test Killing Predator|
Engineering a Molecular Predation Oscillator
Oscillators are a fundamental building block in many fields of engineering and are a widespread phenomenon in biology. Building a biological oscillator is thus a critical step forward in the field of Synthetic Biology.
The major goal of Imperial College’s 2006 entry into the iGEM competition was to create a stable biological oscillator, improving on past designs such as Elowitz’s repressilator. The team investigated into natural biological oscillators and sought to mimic Lotka-Volterra predator-prey interactions with a molecular system. The model was adapted to molecular interactions between prey (n-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL)) and predator (AiiA (AHL-lactonase) + LuxR). The design strategy of the project was an engineering based cycle of specification, design, modeling, testing, and implementation. Parts were constructed and individually tested before the final construct was assembled. Our ongoing parts testing shows correlation to our mathematical models, suggesting that the design could be successful.
Detail theoretical modelling showing how our system might be able to work! Click here
Following the design of the oscillator, a full theoretical analysis and detailed computer modelling of the Lotka-Volterra dynamics was carried out. These studies showed that it is theoretically possible to provide a stable oscillator. Because all components as well as the overall oscillator were modelled, its behaviour could be accurately predicted. Our team successfully built the functional parts, thus providing the building blocks for the final oscillator. All parts created were experimentally tested and their characterization could be used to feedback information into the modelling.