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Transplanting KaiABC: Reduce your jet lag with this one weird trick!


Do you see these images in your jet-lag-drunken nightmares? I know I do.


Have you ever felt tired as a weary traveler after a whole day of flying in an unfamiliar city? So doggone tired that you would do anything just to feel refreshed anything? Then just click here to buy the ultimate cure to jet lag! Or just give us your credit card information here and we’ll ship it to you pronto!


…Just kidding! We’re not trying to scam you here, we’re the UChicago 2015 iGEM team and we’re trying to create bacteria that can reduce or cure your jet lag (as well as sleeping disorders).


We actually have science to back us up! Currently, there exist no working 24-hour oscillator BioBricks. We are addressing this problem by transplanting the circadian rhythm-generating KaiABC system from cyanobacteria into E. coli and optimizing its function by controlling protein stoichiometry and adding accessory proteins. Such a BioBrick would be important for any application in which gene expression needs to be regulated on a 24-hour schedule. For example, it is often important to release a drug at a specific time of the day. As a proof-of-concept application, we implemented this clock as a potential solution to jet lag and sleep disorders by engineering a strain of E. coli that facilitates the production of a melatonin precursor in the gut on a 24-hour cycle. Thus, our project hopes to demonstrate the application of a robust KaiABC-based clock in timed drug dosage, as well as introduces an oscillator BioBrick into the synthetic biology community.


Figure 1: A) The first leg of our project focuses on reconstituting the KaiABC oscillator system. B) The second leg of our journey (see what we did there?) focuses on creating a readout system that can process KaiC phosphorylation state into actual promoter state. Not depicted is the third part of our project, which aims to secrete AANAT, an enzyme that can produce a melatonin precursor.


Still not convinced? Then click here to learn more!

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