IGEM:MIT/2005/Day 2 Discussion

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A. Energy idea

  • 1. ATP: Cells typically need as energy but might consider others cell charge carriers: electrons, protons, + chgd and –chgd ions.
  • 2. V potential across membrane 10million volts/meter. # sound large because membranes so tiny, so would need lg # of cells.
  • 3. How to get at inside?
  • 4. Make cylindrical cells? Axons (e.g. squid axons) are large and cylindrical. Could change shape of cell: division mutants, or use large bacterial cell.
  • 5. Publication of note: Nature Biotech (2003) 21:1229. Graphite anode for fuel cells on which bacteria will grow and deliver power. Deposits power on anode to collect. Cathode in another tank.
  • 6. Jelly fish and eels somehow release power. How?
  • 7. What about light? Luciferases. Would need 37° functioning system. TK has one from interesting system: bacterial infects nematode, nematode eats insect larvae, then feeds bacteria which glow which attracts birds to insect larvae which allows bacteria to spread.
  • 8. Rhod: Photorhod is intermediate in process, bacterial analog bactereorhd/proteorh. Using light to power: uncouple proton gradient (chlorophyll) from ATP production. Could pump protons OUT to make media acidic, so if able to put a membrane around this somewhere might make gradient. Bactrhop gene in freezer (TK) but needs co-factor retinal…

B. Removing Waste using bacteria

  • 1. Google find: lots of isolated strains known to do this.
  • 2. Removes inorganic wastes and metals such as chromium then ppts them. TK wants to ppt gold. How much ppt would we need to make an interesting or valuable amount of gold?
  • 3. Bacterial can degrade aromatic Hcarbons, really want Fluorcarbons degraded.
  • 4. Finding/growing waste-removing bacteria is expensive and synthesize. Rewrite this function into E. coli?

C. Artery cleaner

  • 1. Plaques: made by LDL=bad cholesterol, made in liver, bile secreted into blood stream, absorbed into gut. Could try to coat LDL receptors onto surface of bacterial cell so these would intercept secreted LDL.
  • 2.Definitely don’t want engineered cells to bind every place in body with LDL.
  • 3. LPA is really bad, might want to target this.
  • 4. Ethical issues for introducing bacteria into body. Put bacteria into intestines?
  • 5. Constructing a cell to intercept new LDL is not the same as constructing one that will remove existing plaque from arteries.
  • 6. Engineer Endothelial cells will automatically bind something so these may be good for targeting. Inject?
  • 7. Body may not reject own cells. Human testing is way off but still worthwhile to spend summer working on find something that can find plaques.

D. Multivitamin Idea really complicated

E. Signal in space ~ same as swimmilator.

F. All of team seems passionate about all these things. Want more info to gauge possibility of accomplishing goal. Also want to decide. Suggestion made: Don’t be afraid of “over-research” May generate other ideas!!

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