University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Research Seminars > Controlling the distribution of signaling molecules in synthetic patterning

Controlling the distribution of signaling molecules in synthetic patterning

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Natural biological processes like development and self-organization of populations (ex: biofilm formation), require cells to respond to the distribution of a diffusing molecule. Synthetic biology has adapted acyl homoserine lactone (AHL)-based quorum-sensing systems as a model for rationally engineering intercellular communication, chemotaxis, and pattern formation in bacterial populations. Many components of these synthetic patterning systems have been characterized, but little work has been done on characterizing and modifying the way that signaling molecules become distributed in the field throughout space and time. We used engineered C6-AHL receiver cells in order to ratiometrically characterize the rate of AHL diffusion in a bacterial lawn with different AHL sources. Using mathematical modeling based on experimental characterization of enzyme-catalyzed degradation of C6-AHL by aiiA (an AHL lactonase), we show that aiiA can be used to control the shape and size of the AHL diffusion in a bacterial lawn.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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