iGEM 2009

The Project
The Bioscaffold
We aim to produce a system for directed delivery of proteins in outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). This work is supported through agent-based simulation of OMV communication. To assess the effectiveness of an OMV-based communication solution, we have developed a new version of BSim, our stochastic agent based modelling framework. In-frame fusion of arbitrary bio-bricks leaving behind a scarless, joining region

VESECURE - discrete targeted communication with Outer Membrane Vesicles

Directed delivery of specific proteins into cells would have dramatic consequences for drug delivery and expand the horizons of synthetic biology into the multicellular domain via discrete, targeted communication.

Gram-negative bacteria naturally produce outer member vesicles (OMVs): spherical, bilayered proteolipids from 20-200nm in diameter. OMVs carry outer membrane, periplasmic and cytoplasmic proteins, DNA, RNA and other biological molecules. They protect their cargo from the extracellular environment and deliver it to a multitude of target cells via membrane fusion.

We investigate the possibility of allowing the secretion of any protein in OMVs via fusion with novel, non-toxic partners enhanced in OMVs, using a novel Bioscaffold compatible with the current assembly standard. A new version of the award winning BSim software has been developed to study applications at the population level such as communication. The ultimate goal is to create a safe and standardised system for directed delivery of proteins into cells.

Team background

The Bristol Centre for Complexity Sciences (BCCS) is a new highly interdisciplinary centre for training and research funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC). It is a major collaboration across 4 faculties within the University of Bristol.

Both the BCCS and iGEM share an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving and a culture of communication between previously disparate scientific fields. Furthermore, the BCCS aims to nurture the next generation of scientists in complexity, fitting with iGEM's ethos of introducing undergraduates to cutting edge science. This year the team is made up of advisors and students from the BCCS, Engineering Mathematics, Biology, Biochemistry and Chemistry.

By taking part in iGEM the BCCS and Bristol University hopes to:

  • Build links between departments and people within and outside the university,
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of such collaborations,
  • Attempt to apply, where appropriate, techniques from the field of Complexity Science.


We would like to thank the following people, companies and organisations for providing help and resources to the BCCS Bristol iGEM 2009 team:

BCCS GeneART logo.gif

BCCS MrGENE logo.gif
GeneART and Mr.Gene synthesized DNA sequences to order at a discounted cost and were of great help regarding DNA synthesis procedures.