We have collaborated with several iGEM Teams:
Sonyeodul - Korea
" Bacteria is a vital decomposer in our everyday lives. It decomposes and recycles things that can be reused in the nature. Our team came to think that this beneficial bacterium might be a solution to the problem regarding increasing trash in the Earth. Of all projects attempting to solve trash problems, research about plastic degrading bacteria is the most popular. However, our team felt that the research has not been efficient enough and fast enough to solve the fundamental problem. Through this research, as a student, we hope to dedicate to what our society is facing. The fundamental purpose of the research is to generate a more efficient and fast plastic degrading process through the plastic degrading bacteria and make plastic bacteria practically usable. The current bacteria are slow in degrading speed and low in degrading quantity, so our research hopes to find better solution for efficiency."
KoreaSonyeod is a high school team working also on degradation of plastic. Due to the fact that our team is really concerned about the accumulation of plastic waste, we ventured to help other iGEM teams that also working to solve this problem. Therefore, we contacted team KoreaSonyeod and offered them our help. KoreaSonyeod team focused on PET degradation using a different enzyme than ours. In their project, the monomers of PET bonds are broken by PETase and MHETase leading to the same two products as in our project - Terephthalic acid (TPA) and ethylene glycol. As we developed TPA detection protocol, we helped KoreaSonyeod team how to detect TPA, by providing our protocol and mentoring them how to use it property. We also noticed that other groups working with the same enzymes as KoreaSonyeod team. Therefore, we offered KoreaSonyeod to makes rational mutations in order to stabilize the protein and improve the enzyme activity by using the algorithm from Dr, Sarel Flishman, the Weizmann Institute, Israel. Upon their request, we sent them the structures and sequences of our 7 variants of the PETase protein that we have synthesized and characterized their of activity compare to the wild type protein.
The Technion - Israel
We collaborated with the Technion in a scientific way and also, we participated in a mini Jamboree hosted by the Technion team.
The scientific way:
"Chemotaxis is the movement of bacteria in response to chemical stimuli. This process is mediated by chemoreceptors – membrane proteins that bind to different substances with high specificity. Project S.Tar offers a way to harness the chemotaxis system. By changing the ligand binding domain of the E. Coli Tar-chemoreceptor, we show that bacteria can be programmed to respond to different substances. As an implementation of our system we introduce a novel method for the detection of materials, such as pollutants and allergens, using a microfluidics chip. The chip’s design provides signal amplification while maintaining user-friendly experience."
We learned that their project is about chemotaxis applied in E. coli. After reading articles about P. putida kt2440, we discovered that P. putida kt2440 has a similar chemotaxis mechanism as the E. coli used by the Technion (Ditty et al 1998). The Technion team offered to improve our Bacterium's chemotaxis mechanism though a their developed systemthat makes a specific mutation in the domains of the receptor. By making mutations, they can change the receptor that will bind the desired ligand . In our design system, the LC cutinase breaks PET's first bond into two products- Terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. The products are then consumed by either P. putida kt2440 or E. coli. Terephthalic acid is transferred into P. putida kt2440 by tripartite tricarboxylate transporter and Ethylene glycol is diffused into E. coli.Therefore, we chose to use these two products as ligands to designed improved receptors by the Technion's team. As a result, the bacterium is expected to detect these products in the solvent and migrate towards them overcoming the diffusion's limiting rate. This mechanism can expedite the degradation rate of the PET products and make our system more efficient.
We got the structures and the sequences of 19 variants for ethylene glycol receptor and 9 variants for Terephthalic acid receptor. Unfortunately, we couldn’t synthesize these receptors and check their activity, due to time and finance limits but we thought on a theoretical way use them.
We wrote an assay of Terephthalic acid detection that can support the examination of this process. In the future, we also plan to find an ethylene glycol detection protocol.
- Ditty, J. L., Grimm, A. C., & Harwood, C. S. (1998). Identification of a chemotaxis gene region from Pseudomonas putida. FEMS microbiology letters, 159(2), 267-273.
On September the 29th, we were invited along with the other Israeli iGEM teams to the Technion for Mini Jamboree Event. Each team presented their project before a panel of judges that asked thoughtful questions and offered tips for improvement and better preparation for the Giant Jamboree in Boston.
XMU - China
XMU_China 2016 iGEM team has created a team's information exchange platform- Newsletter. The newsletter enabled iGEM teams from all over the world to write about their project and discuss issues concerning it and synthetic biology in general. This year they chose to publish a single issue composed of five different parts. We were happy to collaborate and publish description about our project in the introduction part and to present our computer game in the survey part of the issue.
To see the full edition - XMU_China - Newsletter
XMU-China also helped us to examine international solution for plastic waste. The XMU-China team sent us a paper about the common ways of treating plastic waste in China.
During working on our project, we contacted many iGEM teams to be expoased and learn about other iGEM team projects. . We sent our computer game that increases awareness for plastic waste to many teams all over the world and offered iGEM teams to contact us if they have any advise or assistance is needed. For example,Tianjin team that also deals with plastic waste asked for….; we took a survey sent by the Manchester team and we participated in Tel-Hai's team "65 roses" camping, and many more.