Team:Birkbeck/Composite Parts

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Birkbeck iGEM

The Owligos are the first-ever team entered into the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition by Birkbeck, University of London. We’re a varied group of students who reflect the diversity and unique character of our institution: many of us have chosen science as a second career, having already spent some time in full-time work. For most of us, this has meant making our way through a degree while continuing to work full-time. Hopefully this kind of dedication will help us successfully navigate our way through our iGEM project.

Project Aim

Our project aims to create a new diagnostic solution that will be low-tech and cost-effective enough to allow its usage in deprived and remote communities. We’re attempting to engineer a bacteriophage lambda chassis to change its host affinity, while simultaneously adding a marker that will facilitate easy detection of a target bacterial pathogen in patient samples.

To demonstrate this approach as a proof of concept for the competition, we plan to change this affinity between different strains of E.coli; however, ultimately we hope to demonstrate that this principle could also be applied to alter the phage’s host range to other bacterial species. We could then provide a modular system capable of diagnosing a range of diseases. Of course, we haven’t chosen a simple goal. But as Birkbeck pioneers, we are determined to prove ourselves by making our project a success. We can’t wait to present the results of our work at the Giant Jamboree in September!

Our BioBricks

Composite Parts

TFA (tail fibre assembly) gene circuit (BBa_K1846001)

The tfa (tail fibre assembly) protein of bacteriophage Lambda assists in the assembly of the stf (short tail fibre) protein into a functional tail fibre. This part provides the gene sequence for tfa, together with a TetR repressible promoter (TetO, available separately as BioBrick part BBa_R0040), ribosome binding site (available separately as part BBa_B0034) and an rrNB T1 terminator (available separately as BioBrick part BBa_B0010). Presence of the gene in shipping backbone pSB1C3 was confirmed by restriction with enzymes EcoRV and PstI (Fig. 1) and by Sanger sequencing.

a.      b. 

Fig 1. a. Predicted band size of correct (lane 1) and incorrect (lane 2) restriction. b. Observed band sizes of both samples (both the tfa circuit) match correct band sizes of 1133 and 1737 bp.

This part can be found here on the iGEM Registry website.

TetR circuit (BBa_K1846003)

This is a constitutive part creating a circuit for the production of the tetracyline repressor TetR, using a constitutive, medium-copy chloramphenicol promoter (BBa_I14033), ribosome binding sequence (BBa_B0031) and double terminator (rrnb T1 terminator followed by a T7Te terminator).

Correct cloning of the part into the pSB1C3 shipping vector was confirmed by Sanger sequencing.

This part can be found here on the iGEM Registry website.