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StickE. Coli : Single Protein Attachment of Escherichia coli

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Natural attachment of micro-organisms relies on a complex network of varying compounds known as biofilms. This complexity hinders an easy control and regulation of attachment and detachment. We will give Escherichia coli a simple, effective and controllable mechanism for biofilm formation, based on the strong glue from mussel feet. E. coli, expressing the strongest-binding mussel foot protein Mfp5 on the outer cell surface, can robustly attach to a wide variety of surfaces, including glass, plastic and itself.
Using highly sensitive TIRF microscopy and atomic force measurements we visualize and characterize the localization and attachment of cells. Combining these results with our mathematical models allows us to predict the attachment speed and stability as well as cell clustering and settling. The controllable, strong attachment opens up new possibilities for the use of bacterial machines in environmental applications, medicine and industry.


Our workflow has been designed in such a way that each project is individual and independent. All the projects however can enhance each-other and contribute to one greater project.

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In March we started by gathering project ideas with the team members, advisors, and supervisors. In April we did a lot of research on bio-adhesion and mussel foot proteins. In May we started with sponsoring and working on our wiki. In June we designed our first BioBrick. We did some modelling and worked on our lab plan. Also, we made a plan to make the Dutch society aware of synthetic biology. Now, in July, we continue with all the subprojects we started. By the end of September, we hope to have succeeded in all our separate projects and reached our goal on a scientific level. We hope to have a good modeling plan, well characterized Biobricks, a fruitful collaboration with other iGEM teams and the Rathenau Institute and a wonderful exposition in the Science Centre.

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