Area A: Synthetic Cells and Switches
Research Area A aims at the generation of synthetic cells and synthetic switches.
|A1||Mascher||SporoBeads - functionalized B. subtilis endospores for protein display|
|A2||Leister||Introduction of a functional plant photosystem I in a prokaryotic chassis|
|A3||Simmel||Dynamics of synthetic gene circuits in vitro and in vivo|
|A4||Broedersz||Physical principles of DNA organization by interacting nucleoid-associated proteins|
|A5||Papenfort||Synthetic small RNA regulators for tailored gene expression in bacteria|
Studies in expand a very successful iGEM-project and comprise the development of endospores as functionalized biological beads for stably displaying proteins on their surface. SporoBeads could be used in project A2 to optimize some of the proteins involved in photosynthesis. In addition, SporoBeads could be applied in some projects of Area B for the immobilization and/or in vitro chemical modification of synthetic proteins and protein units.
Complex eukaryotes like plants are not accessible to genetic engineering. Therefore, project A2 aims to contribute to a new paradigm in the genetic engineering of plants by outsourcing a complex plant process to a model prokaryote.
Project A3 aims at the development of synthetic RNA-based regulatory circuits and their quantitative characterization. The circuits will be based on rationally designed riboregulators and the CRISPR interference mechanism. In order to obtain a good quantitative understanding of the regulatory modules and enable further engineering, their performance will be analyzed and compared in quantitative gene expression studies both in bacteria and in a cell-free setting.
Bacteria employ an array of nucleoid associated proteins, which collectively organize chromosome architecture by binding to the DNA in large numbers. This organization depends on how these nucleoid associated protein physically interact with each other and with DNA. We develop theoretical and computational frameworks to study the basic design principles of how nucleoid associated proteins localize on specific regions of the DNA, organize the bacterial chromosome in 3D, and can control DNA functions such as gene activity.
RNA is common to all living organisms. Despite its major function as the coding agent for protein synthesis, an increasing number of regulatory roles have been assigned to RNA in prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. The natural versatility and the modular architecture of regulatory RNAs make them ideal substrates for bioengineering purposes. In this project, we develop artificial RNA regulators for specific regulatory tasks in bacteria.