Revision as of 23:28, 21 October 2009 by Agoyal (Talk | contribs)

Hi Mom


Optical communication is central to interactions between many multicellular organisms. However, it is virtually unknown between unicellular organisms, much less between unicellular organisms of different kingdoms of life. Our team has constructed a system that allows for interspecies, bacteria-to-yeast optical communication. In this system, bacteria to communicate to yeast the presence of IPTG, which results in transcription of lacZ in the yeast cells. To permit bacteria to send an optical signal, we expressed in E. coli a red firefly luciferase under IPTG induction. To allow yeast to receive the signal, we used a two-hybrid-system based on the interaction between the red-light-sensitive Arabidopsis thaliana phytochrome PhyB and its interacting factor PIF3. Interaction between PhyB and PIF3 is induced by the red light from the bacteria, resulting in transcription of the lacZ gene. This is an excellent demonstration of the principles and potential of synthetic biology: this system enables us to optically bridge a physically separated canonical lac operon using light as a trans-acting factor, communicated between the species of cells using optical signals. In other words, we have been able to separate the de-repression and gene expression into two separate cells, bridging this physical separation with light based signals between the cells. The bacteria signal to yeast that the operon has been de-repressed using bioluminescence from the luciferase enzyme. In response to this optical signal, the yeast completes the operon’s function and expresses beta-galactosidase.





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