Navigation Links
UCSF team develops 'logic gates' to program bacteria as computers
Date:12/8/2010

A team of UCSF researchers has engineered E. coli with the key molecular circuitry that will enable genetic engineers to program cells to communicate and perform computations.

The work builds into cells the same logic gates found in electronic computers and creates a method to create circuits by "rewiring" communications between cells. This system can be harnessed to turn cells into miniature computers, according to findings that will be reported in an upcoming issue of Nature and appear today in the advanced online edition at www.nature.com.

That, in turn, will enable cells to be programmed with more intricate functions for a variety of purposes, including agriculture and the production of pharmaceuticals, materials and industrial chemicals, according to Christopher A. Voigt, PhD, a synthetic biologist and associate professor in the UCSF School of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry who is senior author of the paper.

The most common electronic computers are digital, he explained; that is, they apply logic operations to streams of 1's and 0's to produce more complex functions, ultimately producing the software with which most people are familiar. These logic operations are the basis for cellular computation, as well.

"We think of electronic currents as doing computation, but any substrate can act like a computer, including gears, pipes of water, and cells," Voigt said. "Here, we've taken a colony of bacteria that are receiving two chemical signals from their neighbors, and have created the same logic gates that form the basis of silicon computing."

Applying this to biology will enable researchers to move beyond trying to understand how the myriad parts of cells work at the molecular level, to actually use those cells to perform targeted functions, according to Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy.

"This field will be transformative in how we harness biology for biomedical advances," said Koda-Kimble, who championed Voigt's recruitment to lead this field at UCSF in 2003. "It's an amazing and exciting relationship to watch cellular systems and synthetic biology unfold before our eyes."

The Nature paper describes how the Voigt team built simple logic gates out of genes and inserted them into separate E. coli strains. The gate controls the release and sensing of a chemical signal, which allows the gates to be connected among bacteria much the way electrical gates would be on a circuit board.

"The purpose of programming cells is not to have them overtake electronic computers," explained Voigt, whom Scientist magazine named a "scientist to watch" in 2007 and whose work is included among the Scientist's Top 10 Innovations of 2009. "Rather, it is to be able to access all of the things that biology can do in a reliable, programmable way."

The research already has formed the basis of an industry partnership with Life Technologies, in Carlsbad, Cal., in which the genetic circuits and design algorithms developed at UCSF will be integrated into a professional software package as a tool for genetic engineers, much as computer-aided design is used in architecture and the development of advanced computer chips.

The automation of these complex operations and design choices will advance basic and applied research in synthetic biology. In the future, Voigt said the goal is to be able to program cells using a formal language that is similar to the programming languages currently used to write computer code.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kristen Bole
kristen.bole@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Iowa State, Ames Lab researcher develops new way to study single biological molecules
2. MU scientist develops salmonella test that makes food safer, reduce recalls
3. IVCC develops new public health insecticides
4. NC State develops more precise genetic off switches
5. Yale develops new animal model for hemophilia A
6. Research develops simple recipe for fungus-free horseradish
7. CCNY-led team develops non-toxic oil recovery agent
8. Harvards Wyss Institute develops technology to produce sugar from photosynthetic bacteria
9. ISU researcher develops green, bio-based process for producing fuel additive
10. Military develops multi-purpose green decontaminants for terrorist attack sites
11. CSIRO develops highest-yielding salt-tolerant wheat
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
UCSF team develops 'logic gates' to program bacteria as computers
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017 Optimove , provider of ... such as 1-800-Flowers and AdoreMe, today announced two ... Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine learning algorithms, these features ... replenishment recommendations to their customers based not just ... customer intent drawn from a complex web of ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... March 13, 2017 Future of security: Biometric Face Matching ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures against each ... to identify individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG,s "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face Matching on ...
(Date:3/6/2017)... , March 6, 2017 ... sales technology, today announced Predictive Sales Coach TM ... infusing actionable sales intelligence into Salesforce. This unique ... enable their sales organizations with deep knowledge of ... allow for intelligent engagement. Predictive Sales Coach extends ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  SeraCare ... to global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers and ... the industry,s first multiplexed Inherited Cancer ... testing by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The Seraseqâ„¢ ... developed with input from industry experts to ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage  ... Cancer remains one ... on health care systems, in terms of costs and resources. ... does the development of innovative and efficient therapies that demonstrate ... many types of cancer treatments, a growing number of patients ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017 Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN), today announced ... U.K. Biobank and GSK to generate genetic sequence data from ... initiative will enable researchers to gain valuable insights to support ... range of serious and life threatening diseases. ... Genetic evidence has ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017 Oramed Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... ), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused ... announced today that Dr. Miriam Kidron , ... titled, "Oral Insulin for Diabetes Treatment: Bypassing the ... and Peptide Therapeutics (OPT) Boston Conference in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: