Team:Pretoria UP



Synthetic laccases and DNA aptamers for thylakoid tethering in photo-bioelectrochemical cells


This year we submitted a total of 17 parts to the iGEM registry. We added 5 new basic parts: an SP6 promoter which can be used for in vitro expression of genes, as well as 4 eukaryotic Laccase proteins from Eucalyptus grandis. We designed and added 12 new composite parts to the registry: four eukaryotic laccase genes from Eucalyptus grandis, as well eight prokaryotic laccase genes, all of which has an SP6 promoter and a His(x6) tag at the 5’ end and a T7 terminator at the 3’ end.

Check out our Parts page for more information!

Human practices

During our Human Practices project we gained valuable knowledge from experts in the field. We held a synthetic biology workshop and symposium, and presented to 40 high school learners at our university's "UP with Science" day. We also used various platforms of social media to create awareness of both our project and the fun we had during it!


We collaborated with three different teams in the 2016 iGEM season. We assisted team Macquarie by making a graphical user interface on MatLab showing how the concentration of various intermediates including ALA (Y-axis) changes over time (X-axis) in chlorophyll. We created a documentary for team Aix-Marseille focusing on the socio-economic and political issues facing the current platinum sector, including the Marikana strikes. Team Heidelberg 2015 ran their MAWS software to provide us with a target specific aptamer, in exchange for numerous candidate PDB files for them to test their system on, as wells as valuable feedback about how well their aptamer performed in our thylakoid binding experiments.


We constructed a simulation model of a photo-bioelectrochemical cell (PBEC) using AnyLogic to illustrate how different parameters would effect the efficiency of our cell. Changeable parameters include: light intensity (μ mole photons.m−2.s−1), casing material (Perspex or glass), electrode size and whether or not to select thylakoid attachment by making use of aptamers. Read more about this on our Model page .


We had tons of fun getting to know each other while working throughout the winter and spring here in South Africa.
Click here to learn more about our team members.


We would like to extend special thanks to the following organizations for their support: