From 2008.igem.org


The synthetic convertible ecosystem


The attempts to uncover the mechanics and complex interrelations within natural microbial systems and quantitatively measurement of environmental factors on system behavior often failed because of the entangled intrinsic parameters and un-measurable population dynamics.

We designed and constructed an ecosystem constituted of two strains of E.coli, which could represent various biological relationships along with the fluctuation of antibiotics concentration as the environmental pressure and the inducing molecular such as IPTG and arabinose as the regulating factors.

The Tools

Convertible switch-----Convertible switch is a switch on the basis of two mutually-repressive promoters, the product of each represses the express of that of the other, and both the repressors could be deactivated in certain conditions. And the state of the cell could be regulated by the change of the culture variations.

Quorum sensing-----That is the way how various bacteria “talk” to each other. It is the mechanism ensures that certain genes will keep silence before the cell density of the species pass a threshold.

Prisoners’ Dilemma----It is the dilemma in which the two suspects could either choose to cooperate with or betray each other. In conditions when they could communicate freely with each other, they will cooperate, which maximizes their benefits as a whole; while when they are inquisited separately, they will both choose to betray one another to lower the risks of long sentence.

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