In designing our Biofabricator Subtilis, we followed the engineering approach for synthetic biology.
We started with a set of basic specifications our project must meet in order to fulfill our aim of designing a genetically-engineering biofabricator. Since there are three main parts to our project, our specifications can be broadly classified into three categories - light sensing, motility control and biomaterial synthesis.
- The photoreceptor must have a short response time, preferably under one minute.
- The light sensing metabolic pathway must be able to be coupled to an inducible promoter, to allow control of our downstream systems (motility control and biomaterial production).
- The photoreceptor must be compatible with the chassis and be able to be over-expressed to increase efficiency of biofabrication.
- The pathway must not give rise to negative secondary effects such as interference with native pathways.
- Quick and effective control of bacteria motility - we should be able to stop bacteria locomotion in less than five minutes.
- The mechanism for motility control must be reversible - bacteria should be able to regain locomotion after a certain recovery period.
- Bacteria should be able to effectively secrete large and detectable amounts of peptides into the growth medium.
- Peptides must be small enough to facilitate their secretion by our chassis.
- Peptides must be sub-units of a biomaterial that is useful for tissue engineering or regenerative medicine.
- The secreted peptides must be able to self-assemble outside the chassis to form a 3D-bioscaffold with a particular 3D shape.
For more information on how B. subtilis meets our specifications and why we have embarked on the ambitious route of using it as our chassis, please refer to the next page. >>> Why B. subtilis? >>>