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Following to the first success in 2018, iGEM Team Hamburg won a gold medal at the IGEM competition 2019

 

Summary 2019:

Modelling is important for synthetic biology since the functionality and behavior of synthetic circuits are often difficult to characterize by experiments. Models are designed to predict these functionalities and can help with design decision without the necessity of much experimental data. For our project we focussed on translation regulation by RNA, which is a promising alternative to standard translational control by transcription factors. We based our project on studies by Green et al. [1], who identified/constructed toehold switches (in the following called control gates), which can be controlled by variable input parameters (in the following called triggers). We focussed our project on an AND-Gate with two triggers, which both have to be present for induction of translation. Their experimental data indicated an increase in translation for the induced protein synthesis compared to the basal synthesis by a factor up to 1000. First, we needed to find out whether the gate acts as expected in ourcase using distinct promoters. Additionally, we introduced minor changes to the gate sequence and the expression gene. Therefore, we needed to verify that the modifications to the sequences of the gate and the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) do not cause negative effects on our expression system. Thus, we simulated protein synthesis in silico, and did different structure predictions.

 

Read more at https://2019.igem.org/Team:Hamburg/Description

 

 

Feedback from iGEM Team Hamburg after meeting with altona Diagnostics research and development department in November 2019:

 

Besides discussing our projects with experts from research groups, we were also interested in finding out which opportunities our industrial partners see in our project. So we were delighted when altona diagnostic (one of our sponsors) invited us to present our project to their research and development department. They were very interested in our project and comprehended the possible implication, if our riboswitches would work. Additionally they had a completely different perspective on our research and raised question we have not thought about before, like how resistant our gate sequence is towards mutations. After this inspiring exchange of thoughts we realised that there is still much work to do before our idea can be used in an industrial context.

 

 

Zusammenfassung 2019:

In diesem Jahr beschäftigt sich das iGEM Team Hamburg mit einem Projekt, das sich zum Ziel gesetzt hat, die Grenzen der Synthetischen Biologie zu erweitern. Die gängigen regulatorischen Systeme zur Expression von Zielgenen sind kompliziert und fehleranfällig. Nicht vorhersehbare Interaktionen und Ungenauigkeiten limitieren die praktische Anwendung der gegenwärtigen synthetischen Biologie. Aus diesem Grund entwickelt das Team eine Technologie, die diese Interaktionen und Probleme reduziert. Hierbei werden die synthetischen und nativen Prozesse in der Zelle mit Hilfe von RNAs gesteuert, die durch Logik-Operationen interagieren. Insbesondere arbeitet das Team mit zwei Logik-Gates, AND und NOT. Mit dem AND-Gate können verschiedene Bedingungen für die Genexpression gleichzeitig berücksichtigt werden und mit dem NOT-Gate wird das AND-Gate inhibiert. So wird es möglich, aufwändigere molekulare Maschinen zu konstruieren. Das Team entwirft dafür standardisierte RNA-Bausteine, mit denen bereits existierende Anwendungen effizienter und einfacher gestaltet werden können.

Ein weiterer Teil des Projekts ist die standardisierte Charakterisierung von biologischen Bausteinen mit Ribozymen. Diese kleinen RNA-Moleküle können gezielt RNA schneiden, wodurch ebenfalls eine effizientere Regulation des Zielgens erreicht wird. Um diese Ribozyme einer breiten Masse zugänglich zu machen, werden Softwarealgorithmen entwickelt, die das Design des gewollten Ribozymes für den Anwender übernehmen.

 

Mehr Informationen: https://2019.igem.org/Team:Hamburg/Description

 

 

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