A sensing array of radically coupled genetic 'biopixels'

Arthur Prindle, Phillip Samayoa, Ivan Razinkov, Tal Danino, Lev S. Tsimring, Jeff Hasty*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

224 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there has been considerable progress in the development of engineering principles for synthetic biology, a substantial challenge is the construction of robust circuits in a noisy cellular environment. Such an environment leads to considerable intercellular variability in circuit behaviour, which can hinder functionality at the colony level. Here we engineer the synchronization of thousands of oscillating colony 'biopixels' over centimetre-length scales through the use of synergistic intercellular coupling involving quorum sensing within a colony and gas-phase redox signalling between colonies. We use this platform to construct a liquid crystal display (LCD)-like macroscopic clock that can be used to sense arsenic via modulation of the oscillatory period. Given the repertoire of sensing capabilities of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, the ability to coordinate their behaviour over large length scales sets the stage for the construction of low cost genetic biosensors that are capable of detecting heavy metals and pathogens in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume481
Issue number7379
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 5 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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