Tokyo-NokoGen 2011

Department of Biotechnology and Life Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology





Project: EcoLion







Tokyo-NoKoGen 2011 official team profile


We are the Tokyo-NoKoGen 2011, a Japanese team from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. 10 undergraduates and 2 graduates have been joining the project in this year. All members belong to the Department of Biotechnology and Life Science of TUAT. Our team name stands for the name of our university (東京農工大学), in Japanese.

Tokyo-NoKoGen has participated in iGEM since 2009, making our broad knowlegde of biotechnology to use in synthetic biology. NoKoGen had worked on the E. coli auto protein synthesizer designated "ESCAPES" in 2009 and the EcoTanker in 2010. With contribusions for iGEM and synthetic biology, our teams got a bronze and a gold medal in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

In this year, Tokyo-NoKoGen 2011 produce EcoLion, the E. coli collecting heavy metal ions. The EcoLion works for bioremediation and recovery of heavy metals such as cadmium and arsenic. The EcoLion can be differenciated from other team's previous projects aiming at collecting heavy metals using E. coli. Our EcoLion transport heavy metal ions into its cell and capture the ions using metallothionein. Then the captured heavy metals are transferred into a bacterial microcompartment (BMC) and concentrated in it. BMCs are very atractive protein structures that function for localization particular small molesules and proteins, especially enzymes. The combination of a BMC and a metallothionein fused to locallization-tag peptide would make it possible to accumulate more amount of heavy metals in E. coli and concetrate the collected metals, thus you can collect much more heavy metals using the EcoLion.

In the same time of having fun for our iGEM projects, we had many discussions on the synthetic biology and biosafety. We hope our EcoLion project contribute to expand the potential of synthetic biology for the future.