Talk:IGEM:MIT/2006/System brainstorming/Smell-o-Rama

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From Eran Pichersky (

If you feed E. coli expressing SAMT salicylic acid, they will make methylsalicylate and you will be able to smell it. In fact, we have shown the production of several scent compounds in E. coli by expressing plant scent genes. In some cases, you do not even need to feed the E. coli cells anything, because the substrates are already made by the bacteria (for example, in the case of the enzyme that makes benzyl acetate). Most of it is published, and we will be happy to provide the plant genes under an MTA. The major component of the "bad" E. coli smell is indole. It might be beneficial to inactivate the pathway that makes indole, so that the nelwy synthesized scents will be even more noticeable.

From Natalia Dudareva

I don't remember exactly, but my memory tells me that I was able to smell the compound in E. coli, although the smell was not very strong. I have also BAMT from snapdragon and BSMT from petunia, but SAMT can make both compounds, methylsalycilate and methylbenzoate, depending on provided substrate, so you don't really need different enzymes. Yes, I can provide you a construct expressing the SAMT.

Obtaining the enzymes

  • RS 12:57, 6 June 2006 (EDT): I think people are right and we might be able to get constructs from Arabidopsis. We should read up on this list of publications.