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May 14, 2007

Scientists Equip Bacteria With Custom Chemo-navigational System

Topics: Medical Science News

Chemonavigation.jpgEmory University scientists have opened the door to powerful new opportunities in drug delivery, by using an innovative method to control the movement of Escherichia coli in chemical environment,environmental cleanup and synthetic biology:

... Justin Gallivan, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, and graduate student Shana Topp successfully reprogrammed E. coli's chemo-navigational system to detect, follow and precisely localize to specific chemical signals. In doing so, the scientists exploited E. coli's natural chemotaxis, a microbe's ability to move toward specific chemicals in its environment.

... The researchers equipped E. coli with a "riboswitch," a segment of RNA that changes shape when bound to certain small target molecules, which can then turn genes on or off. Dr. Gallivan and Topp believe that the riboswitch can be used to equip other types of self-propelled bacteria with "chemo-navigation" systems to move them toward desired targets.

... Chemotactic bacteria navigate chemical environments by coupling their information-processing capabilities to powerful, tiny molecular motors that propel the cells forward.

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Posted by Richard at May 14, 2007 6:33 PM

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