Team:EPF-Lausanne/Future directions




Future directions

Possible Applications

Our system could be very useful for industry as well as for academic research, as a new tool for regulating gene expression.
If we focus on the applications in industry:

  • Bioreactors, used in biochemical engineering. Currently, one main issue is that molecules added in bioreactors to activate synthesis of a particular protein cannot be removed once in the medium, or only very tediously, involving long and expensive filtration procedures. A major advantage of our system is that it is easily reversible: just switch the light on or off! And something as simple as a light bulbe in the reactor could control that! No need to inocculate a chemical with the risk to contaminate your bioreactor.
  • in academic research : If we look further into the future, the light switch could be applied to larger model organisms (not only single cells) for example to switch genes on or off in a particular area of a tissue (the "off" state would be analogous to the case where you knock-out the gene). It would be more efficient than the techniques currently used (example: the Cre-Lox system) because of the advantages listed above, namely it would allow a fine control over the target gene, a reversible action, and above all an immediate response.

Future Experiments

  • Test the entire system in tryptophan repressor knockout E.coli strains: this would eliminate the interferences with the tryptophan present in the medium.
  • Test the new mutated version of LovTap: according to the Modeling results, this version should be much more efficient and stable than the original one.
  • Try to mutate the sequence of the Trp promoter in order to have a higher binding affinity of LovTap to the DNA.