The bacterial nanorecorder: Engineering E. coli to function as a chemical recording device

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027559
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TypeArticle
Journal titlePLoS ONE
ISSN1932-6203
Volume6
Issue11
Article numbere27559
Subjectnanoengineering; E. coli; cytology; genetic engineering; nanorecorder; reporter gene; synthetic biology; Escherichia coli; chemical recording devices
AbstractSynthetic biology is an emerging branch of molecular biology that uses synthetic genetic constructs to create man-made cells or organisms that are capable of performing novel and/or useful applications. Using a synthetic chemically sensitive genetic toggle switch to activate appropriate fluorescent protein indicators (GFP, RFP) and a cell division inhibitor (minC), we have created a novel E. coli strain that can be used as a highly specific, yet simple and inexpensive chemical recording device. This biological "nanorecorder" can be used to determine both the type and the time at which a brief chemical exposure event has occurred. In particular, we show that the short-term exposure (15-30 min) of cells harboring this synthetic genetic circuit to small molecule signals (anhydrotetracycline or IPTG) triggered long-term and uniform cell elongation, with cell length being directly proportional to the time elapsed following a brief chemical exposure. This work demonstrates that facile modification of an existing genetic toggle switch can be exploited to generate a robust, biologically-based "nanorecorder" that could potentially be adapted to detect, respond and record a wide range of chemical stimuli that may vary over time and space. © 2011 Bhomkar et al.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada (NRC-CNRC); Security and Disruptive Technologies
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21272043
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Record identifier57c3872d-b178-4d6e-bfb5-9b3c5e4513bb
Record created2014-05-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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