Engineering Escherichia coli to Animate Images in Response to Light
Authors:Julia Brown , Nathaniel Glasser , Katie Knister , Daisy Lin, Gita Mahmoudabadi , Edward Pursifull, Chenxi Qiu , Emzo de los Santos , Ashley Su, Huey-Ru Tsai
Mentor:Richard Murray , Professor of Control & Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering, California Institute of Technology
Previous studies have shown that high-definition images can be produced by Escherichia coli using projection of a pattern of light onto the bacteria. Principal objectives of researching this bacterial system is to introduce a degradation tag that will degrade the emission of red fluorescent protein (mCherry) while it is created and use a projection of moving images to create an animating bacterial lawn. This project is collaboration between Caltech and Cal Arts and the spatial control of gene expression can be used to model rates of degradation versus rates of synthesis of mCherry and investigate signaling pathways through spatial and temporal control. We have begun to engineer E. coli to respond to light and produce red output that is degraded over time using microbiology cloning techniques, such as digestion, ligation, and transformation. Seven constructs of a reporter or vector next to mCherry with separate degradation tags that vary in the final three amino acids (AAV, LVA) have been created. We have also explored varying strengths of osmotic pressure onto our constructs using varying salt concentration in a RFP assay. These results provide a novel approach to using biofilms as bacterial animation and may prove useful for signaling temporal and spatial applications of bacterial films.