Showing 1 - 25 of 31 results
Light-Sensitive Lactococcus lactis for Microbe-Gut-Brain Axis Regulating via Upconversion Optogenetic Micro-Nano System.
The discovery of the gut-brain axis has proven that brain functions can be affected by the gut microbiota's metabolites, so there are significant opportunities to explore new tools to regulate gut microbiota and thus work on the brain functions. Meanwhile, engineered bacteria as oral live biotherapeutic agents to regulate the host's healthy homeostasis have attracted much attention in microbial therapy. However, whether this strategy is able to remotely regulate the host's brain function in vivo has not been investigated. Here, we engineered three blue-light-responsive probiotics as oral live biotherapeutic agents. They are spatiotemporally delivered and controlled by the upconversion optogenetic micro-nano system. This micro-nano system promotes the small intestine targeting and production of the exogenous L. lactis in the intestines, which realizes precise manipulation of brain functions including anxiety behavior, Parkinson's disease, and vagal afferent. The noninvasive and real-time probiotic intervention strategy makes the communiation from the gut to the host more controllable, which will enable the potential for engineered microbes accurately and effectively regulating a host's health.
NIR-Responsive Photodynamic Nanosystem Combined with Antitumor Immune Optogenetics Bacteria for Precise Synergetic Therapy.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and immunotherapy are considered promising methods for the treatment of tumors. However, these treatment systems are still suffering from shortcomings such as hypoxia, easy metastasis, and delayed immune response during PDT. Therefore, it is still challenging to establish a programmed and rapid response immune combination therapy platform. Here, we construct a two-step synergetic therapy platform for the treatment of primary tumors and distant tumors using upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) and engineered bacteria as therapeutic media. In the first step, erbium ion (Er3+)-doped UCNPs act as a photoswitcher to activate the photosensitizer ZnPc to produce 1O2 for primary tumor therapy. In the second step, thulium ion (Tm3+)-doped UCNPs can emit blue-violet light under the excitation of near-infrared (NIR) light to activate the engineered bacteria to produce interferon (INF-γ) and release them in the intestine, which can not only treat tumors directly but also act with PDT to regulate immune pathways to activate the immune system, resulting in a joint immunotherapy effect to inhibit the growth of distant tumors. As a new type of programmatic combination therapy, we have proved that this platform can jointly activate the body's immune system during PDT and immunization treatment and can effectively inhibit tumor metastasis.
Development of Optogenetic Dual-Switch System for Rewiring Metabolic Flux for Polyhydroxybutyrate Production.
Several strategies, including inducer addition and biosensor use, have been developed for dynamical regulation. However, the toxicity, cost, and inflexibility of existing strategies have created a demand for superior technology. In this study, we designed an optogenetic dual-switch system and applied it to increase polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) production. First, an optimized chromatic acclimation sensor/regulator (RBS10-CcaS#10-CcaR) system (comprising an optimized ribosomal binding site (RBS), light sensory protein CcaS, and response regulator CcaR) was selected for a wide sensing range of approximately 10-fold between green-light activation and red-light repression. The RBS10-CcaS#10-CcaR system was combined with a blue light-activated YF1-FixJ-PhlF system (containing histidine kinase YF1, response regulator FixJ, and repressor PhlF) engineered with reduced crosstalk. Finally, the optogenetic dual-switch system was used to rewire the metabolic flux for PHB production by regulating the sequences and intervals of the citrate synthase gene (gltA) and PHB synthesis gene (phbCAB) expression. Consequently, the strain RBS34, which has high gltA expression and a time lag of 3 h, achieved the highest PHB content of 16.6 wt%, which was approximately 3-fold that of F34 (expressed at 0 h). The results indicate that the optogenetic dual-switch system was verified as a practical and convenient tool for increasing PHB production.
Regulating bacterial behavior within hydrogels of tunable viscoelasticity.
Engineered living materials (ELMs) are a new class of materials in which living organism incorporated into diffusive matrices uptake a fundamental role in material’s composition and function. Understanding how the spatial confinement in 3D affects the behavior of the embedded cells is crucial to design and predict ELM’s function, regulate and minimize their environmental impact and facilitate their translation into applied materials. This study investigates the growth and metabolic activity of bacteria within an associative hydrogel network (Pluronic-based) with mechanical properties that can be tuned by introducing a variable degree of acrylate crosslinks. Individual bacteria distributed in the hydrogel matrix at low density form functional colonies whose size is controlled by the extent of permanent crosslinks. With increasing stiffness and decreasing plasticity of the matrix, a decrease in colony volumes and an increase in their sphericity is observed. Protein production surprisingly follows a different pattern with higher production yields occurring in networks with intermediate permanent crosslinking degrees. These results demonstrate that, bacterial mechanosensitivity can be used to control and regulate the composition and function of ELMs by thoughtful design of the encapsulating matrix, and by following design criteria with interesting similarities to those developed for 3D culture of mammalian cells.
Light-induced Patterning of Electroactive Bacterial Biofilms.
Electroactive bacterial biofilms can function as living biomaterials that merge the functionality of living cells with electronic components. However, the development of such advanced living electronics has been challenged by the inability to control the geometry of electroactive biofilms relative to solid-state electrodes. Here, we developed a lithographic strategy to pattern conductive biofilms of Shewanella oneidensis by controlling aggregation protein CdrAB expression with a blue light-induced genetic circuit. This controlled deposition enabled S. oneidensis biofilm patterning on transparent electrode surfaces and measurements demonstrated tunable biofilm conduction dependent on pattern size. Controlling biofilm geometry also enabled us, for the first time, to quantify the intrinsic conductivity of living S. oneidensis biofilms and experimentally confirm predictions based on simulations of a recently proposed collision-exchange electron transport mechanism. Overall, we developed a facile technique for controlling electroactive biofilm formation on electrodes, with implications for both studying and harnessing bioelectronics.
Optogenetic operated probiotics to regulate host metabolism by mimicking enteroendocrine.
The enteroendocrine system plays an important role in metabolism. The gut microbiome regulates enteroendocrine in an extensive way, arousing attention in biomedicine. However, conventional strategies of enteroendocrine regulation via gut microbiome are usually non-specific or imprecise. Here, an optogenetic operated probiotics system was developed combining synthetic biology and flexible electronics to achieve in situ controllable secretion to mimic enteroendocrine. Firstly, optogenetic engineered Lactococcus lactis (L. lactis) were administrated in the intestinal tract. A wearable optogenetic device was designed to control optical signals remotely. Then, L. lactis could secrete enteroendocrine hormone according to optical signals. As an example, optogenetic L. lactis could secrete glucagon-like peptide-1(GLP-1) under the control of the wearable optogenetic device. To improve the half-life of GLP-1 in vivo, the Fc domain from immunoglobulin was fused. Treated with this strategy, blood glucose, weight and other features were relatively well controlled in rats and mice models. Furthermore, up-conversion microcapsules were introduced to increase the excitation wavelength of the optogenetic system for better penetrability. This strategy has biomedical potential in metabolic diseases therapy by mimicking enteroendocrine.
NIR light-responsive bacteria with live bio-glue coatings for precise colonization in the gut.
Recombinant bacterial colonization plays an indispensable role in disease prevention, alleviation, and treatment. Successful application mainly depends on whether bacteria can efficiently spatiotemporally colonize the host gut. However, a primary limitation of existing methods is the lack of precise spatiotemporal regulation, resulting in uncontrolled methods that are less effective. Herein, we design upconversion microgels (UCMs) to convert near-infrared light (NIR) into blue light to activate recombinant light-responsive bacteria (Lresb) in vivo, where autocrine "functional cellular glues" made of adhesive proteins assist Lresb inefficiently colonizing the gut. The programmable engineering platform is further developed for the controlled and effective colonization of Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) in the gut. The colonizing bacteria effectively alleviate DSS-induced colitis in mice. We anticipate that this approach could facilitate the clinical application of engineered microbial therapeutics to accurately and effectively regulate host health.
Optogenetic Control of Microbial Consortia Populations for Chemical Production.
Microbial co-culture fermentations can improve chemical production from complex biosynthetic pathways over monocultures by distributing enzymes across multiple strains, thereby reducing metabolic burden, overcoming endogenous regulatory mechanisms, or exploiting natural traits of different microbial species. However, stabilizing and optimizing microbial subpopulations for maximal chemical production remains a major obstacle in the field. In this study, we demonstrate that optogenetics is an effective strategy to dynamically control populations in microbial co-cultures. Using a new optogenetic circuit we call OptoTA, we regulate an endogenous toxin-antitoxin system, enabling tunability of Escherichia coli growth using only blue light. With this system we can control the population composition of co-cultures of E. coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. When introducing in each strain different metabolic modules of biosynthetic pathways for isobutyl acetate or naringenin, we found that the productivity of co-cultures increases by adjusting the population ratios with specific light duty cycles. This study shows the feasibility of using optogenetics to control microbial consortia populations and the advantages of using light to control their chemical production.
Engineering Gac/Rsm Signaling Cascade for Optogenetic Induction of the Pathogenicity Switch in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Bacterial pathogens operate by tightly controlling the pathogenicity to facilitate invasion and survival in host. While small molecule inducers can be designed to modulate pathogenicity to perform studies of pathogen-host interaction, these approaches, due to the diffusion property of chemicals, may have unintended, or pleiotropic effects that can impose limitations on their use. By contrast, light provides superior spatial and temporal resolution. Here, using optogenetics we reengineered GacS of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, signal transduction protein of the global regulatory Gac/Rsm cascade which is of central importance for the regulation of infection factors. The resultant protein (termed YGS24) displayed significant light-dependent activity of GacS kinases in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When introduced in the Caenorhabditis elegans host systems, YGS24 stimulated the pathogenicity of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PAO1 in a brain-heart infusion and of another strain, PA14, in slow killing media progressively upon blue-light exposure. This optogenetic system provides an accessible way to spatiotemporally control bacterial pathogenicity in defined hosts, even specific tissues, to develop new pathogenesis systems, which may in turn expedite development of innovative therapeutics.
Optotheranostic Nanosystem with Phone Visual Diagnosis and Optogenetic Microbial Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis At-Home Care.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a relapsing disorder characterized by chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. However, the home care of UC based on remote monitoring, due to the operational complexity and time-consuming procedure, restrain its widespread applications. Here we constructed an optotheranostic nanosystem for self-diagnosis and long-acting mitigations of UC at home. The system included two major modules: (i) A disease prescreening module mediated by smartphone optical sensing. (ii) Disease real-time intervention module mediated by an optogenetic engineered bacteria system. Recombinant Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) secreted interleukin-10 (IL-10) could downregulate inflammatory cascades and matrix metalloproteinases; it is a candidate for use in the therapeutic intervention of UC. The results showed that the Detector was able to analyze, report, and share the detection results in less than 1 min, and the limit of detection was 15 ng·mL-1. Besides, the IL-10-secreting EcN treatment suppressed the intestinal inflammatory response in UC mice and protected the intestinal mucosa against injury. The optotheranostic nanosystems enabled solutions to diagnose and treat disease at home, which promotes a mobile health service development.
Living materials fabricated via gradient mineralization of light-inducible biofilms.
Living organisms have evolved sophisticated cell-mediated biomineralization mechanisms to build structurally ordered, environmentally adaptive composite materials. Despite advances in biomimetic mineralization research, it remains difficult to produce mineralized composites that integrate the structural features and 'living' attributes of their natural counterparts. Here, inspired by natural graded materials, we developed living patterned and gradient composites by coupling light-inducible bacterial biofilm formation with biomimetic hydroxyapatite (HA) mineralization. We showed that both the location and the degree of mineralization could be regulated by tailoring functional biofilm growth with spatial and biomass density control. The cells in the composites remained viable and could sense and respond to environmental signals. Additionally, the composites exhibited a maximum 15-fold increase in Young's modulus after mineralization and could be applied to repair damage in a spatially controlled manner. Beyond insights into the mechanism of formation of natural graded composites, our study provides a viable means of fabricating living composites with dynamic responsiveness and environmental adaptability.
Optogenetical control of infection signaling cascade of bacteria by an engineered light-responsive protein.
Bacterial pathogens operate by tightly controlling the virulence to facilitate invasion and survival in host. Although pathways regulating virulence have been defined in detail and signals modulating these processes are gradually understood, a lack of controlling infection signaling cascades of pathogens when and whereabouts specificity limits deeper investigating of host-pathogen interactions. Here, we employed optogenetics to reengineer the GacS of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, sensor kinase of GacS/GacA TCS regulates the expression of virulence factors by directly mediating several sRNAs. The resultant protein YGS24 displayed significant light-dependent activity of GacS kinases in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. When introduced in Caenorhabditis elegans host systems, YGS24 stimulated the pathogenicity of PAO1 in BHI and of PA14 in SK medium progressively upon blue-light exposure. This optogenetic system provides an accessible way to spatiotemporally control bacterial pathogenicity in defined host even specific tissues to develop new pathogenesis systems, which may in turn expedite development of innovative therapeutics.
Upconversion optogenetic micro-nanosystem optically controls the secretion of light-responsive bacteria for systemic immunity regulation.
Chemical molecules specifically secreted into the blood and targeted tissues by intestinal microbiota can effectively affect the associated functions of the intestine especially immunity, representing a new strategy for immune-related diseases. However, proper ways of regulating the secretion metabolism of specific strains still remain to be established. In this article, an upconversion optogenetic micro-nanosystem was constructed to effectively regulate the specific secretion of engineered bacteria. The system included two major modules: (i) Modification of secretory light-responsive engineered bacteria. (ii) Optical sensing mediated by upconversion optogenetic micro-nanosystem. This system could regulate the efficient secretion of immune factors by engineered bacteria through optical manipulation. Inflammatory bowel disease and subcutaneously transplanted tumors were selected to verify the effectiveness of the system. Our results showed that the endogenous factor TGF-β1 could be controllably secreted to suppress the intestinal inflammatory response. Additionally, regulatory secretion of IFN-γ was promoted to slow the progression of B16F10 tumor.
Optogenetic control of the lac operon for bacterial chemical and protein production.
Control of the lac operon with isopropyl β-D-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) has been used to regulate gene expression in Escherichia coli for countless applications, including metabolic engineering and recombinant protein production. However, optogenetics offers unique capabilities, such as easy tunability, reversibility, dynamic induction strength and spatial control, that are difficult to obtain with chemical inducers. We have developed a series of circuits for optogenetic regulation of the lac operon, which we call OptoLAC, to control gene expression from various IPTG-inducible promoters using only blue light. Applying them to metabolic engineering improves mevalonate and isobutanol production by 24% and 27% respectively, compared to IPTG induction, in light-controlled fermentations scalable to at least two-litre bioreactors. Furthermore, OptoLAC circuits enable control of recombinant protein production, reaching yields comparable to IPTG induction but with easier tunability of expression. OptoLAC circuits are potentially useful to confer light control over other cell functions originally designed to be IPTG-inducible.
Printed Degradable Optical Waveguides for Guiding Light into Tissue.
Optogenetics and photonic technologies are changing the future of medicine. To implement light‐based therapies in the clinic, patient‐friendly devices that can deliver light inside the body while offering tunable properties and compatibility with soft tissues are needed. Here extrusion printing of degradable, hydrogel‐based optical waveguides with optical losses as low as 0.1 dB cm−1 at visible wavelengths is described. Core‐only and core‐cladding fibers are printed at room temperature from polyethylene glycol (PEG)‐based and PEG/Pluronic precursors, and cured by in situ photopolymerization. The obtained waveguides are flexible, with mechanical properties tunable within a tissue‐compatible range. Degradation times are also tunable by adjusting the molar mass of the diacrylate gel precursors, which are synthesized by linking PEG diacrylate (PEGDA) with varying proportions of DL‐dithiothreitol (DTT). The printed waveguides are used to activate photochemical and optogenetic processes in close‐to‐physiological environments. Light‐triggered migration of cells in a photoresponsive 3D hydrogel and drug release from an optogenetically‐engineered living material by delivering light across >5 cm of muscle tissue are demonstrated. These results quantify the in vitro performance, and reflect the potential of the printed degradable fibers for in vivo and clinical applications.
Bringing Light into Cell-Free Expression.
Cell-free systems, as part of the synthetic biology field, have become a critical platform in biological studies. However, there is a lack of research into developing a switch for a dynamical control of the transcriptional and translational process. The optogenetic tool has been widely proven as an ideal control switch for protein synthesis due to its nontoxicity and excellent time-space conversion. Hence, in this study, a blue light-regulated two-component system named YF1/FixJ was incorporated into an Escherichia coli-based cell-free system to control protein synthesis. The corresponding cell-free system successfully achieved a 5-fold dynamic protein expression by blue light repression and 3-fold dynamic expression by blue light activation. With the aim of expanding the applications of cell-free synthetic biology, the cell-free blue light-sensing system was used to perform imaging, light-controlled antibody synthesis, and light-triggered artificial cell assembly. This study can provide a guide for further research into the field of cell-free optical sensing. Moreover, it will also promote the development of cell-free synthetic biology and optogenetics through applying the cell-free optical sensing system to synthetic biology education, biopharmaceutical research, and artificial cell construction.
A single-component light sensor system allows highly tunable and direct activation of gene expression in bacterial cells.
Light-regulated modules offer unprecedented new ways to control cellular behaviour with precise spatial and temporal resolution. Among a variety of bacterial light-switchable gene expression systems, single-component systems consisting of single transcription factors would be more useful due to the advantages of speed, simplicity, and versatility. In the present study, we developed a single-component light-activated bacterial gene expression system (eLightOn) based on a novel LOV domain from Rhodobacter sphaeroides (RsLOV). The eLightOn system showed significant improvements over the existing single-component bacterial light-activated expression systems, with benefits including a high ON/OFF ratio of >500-fold, a high activation level, fast activation kinetics, and/or good adaptability. Additionally, the induction characteristics, including regulatory windows, activation kinetics and light sensitivities, were highly tunable by altering the expression level of LexRO. We demonstrated the usefulness of the eLightOn system in regulating cell division and swimming by controlling the expression of the FtsZ and CheZ genes, respectively, as well as constructing synthetic Boolean logic gates using light and arabinose as the two inputs. Taken together, our data indicate that the eLightOn system is a robust and highly tunable tool for quantitative and spatiotemporal control of bacterial gene expression.
Synthetic Biology Tools for the Fast-Growing Marine Bacterium Vibrio natriegens.
The fast-growing non-model marine bacterium Vibrio natriegens has recently garnered attention as a host for molecular biology and biotechnology applications. In order further its capabilities as a synthetic biology chassis, we have characterized a wide range of genetic parts and tools for use in V. natriegens. These parts include many commonly-used resistance markers, promoters, ribosomal binding sites, reporters, terminators, degradation tags, origin of replication sequences and plasmid backbones. We have characterized the behavior of these parts in different combinations and have compared their functionality in V. natriegens and Escherichia coli. Plasmid stability over time, plasmid copy numbers, and production load on the cells were also evaluated. Additionally, we tested constructs for chemical and optogenetic induction and characterized basic engineered circuit behavior in V. natriegens. The results indicate that while most parts and constructs work similarly in the two organisms, some deviate significantly. Overall, these results will serve as a primer for anyone interested in engineering V. natriegens and will aid in developing more robust synthetic biology principles and approaches for this non-model chassis.
Pulsatile illumination for photobiology and optogenetics.
Living organisms exhibit a wide range of intrinsic adaptive responses to incident light. Likewise, in optogenetics, biological systems are tailored to initiate predetermined cellular processes upon light exposure. As genetically encoded, light-gated actuators, sensory photoreceptors are at the heart of these responses in both the natural and engineered scenarios. Upon light absorption, photoreceptors enter a series of generally rapid photochemical reactions leading to population of the light-adapted signaling state of the receptor. Notably, this state persists for a while before thermally reverting to the original dark-adapted resting state. As a corollary, the inactivation of photosensitive biological circuits upon light withdrawal can exhibit substantial inertia. Intermittent illumination of suitable pulse frequency can hence maintain the photoreceptor in its light-adapted state while greatly reducing overall light dose, thereby mitigating adverse side effects. Moreover, several photoreceptor systems may be actuated sequentially with a single light color if they sufficiently differ in their inactivation kinetics. Here, we detail the construction of programmable illumination devices for the rapid and parallelized testing of biological responses to diverse lighting regimes. As the technology is based on open electronics and readily available, inexpensive components, it can be adopted by most laboratories at moderate expenditure. As we exemplify for two use cases, the programmable devices enable the facile interrogation of diverse illumination paradigms and their application in optogenetics and photobiology.
Optoregulated Drug Release from an Engineered Living Material: Self-Replenishing Drug Depots for Long-Term, Light-Regulated Delivery.
On-demand and long-term delivery of drugs are common requirements in many therapeutic applications, not easy to be solved with available smart polymers for drug encapsulation. This work presents a fundamentally different concept to address such scenarios using a self-replenishing and optogenetically controlled living material. It consists of a hydrogel containing an active endotoxin-free Escherichia coli strain. The bacteria are metabolically and optogenetically engineered to secrete the antimicrobial and antitumoral drug deoxyviolacein in a light-regulated manner. The permeable hydrogel matrix sustains a viable and functional bacterial population and permits diffusion and delivery of the synthesized drug to the surrounding medium at quantities regulated by light dose. Using a focused light beam, the site for synthesis and delivery of the drug can be freely defined. The living material is shown to maintain considerable levels of drug production and release for at least 42 days. These results prove the potential and flexibility that living materials containing engineered bacteria can offer for advanced therapeutic applications.
Optoregulated Protein Release from an Engineered Living Material.
Developing materials to encapsulate and deliver functional proteins inside the body is a challenging yet rewarding task for therapeutic purposes. High production costs, mostly associated with the purification process, short-term stability in vivo, and controlled and prolonged release are major hurdles for the clinical application of protein-based biopharmaceuticals. In an attempt to overcome these hurdles, herein, the possibility of incorporating bacteria as protein factories into a material and externally controlling protein release using optogenetics is demonstrated. By engineering bacteria to express and secrete a red fluorescent protein in response to low doses of blue light irradiation and embedding them in agarose hydrogels, living materials are fabricated capable of releasing proteins into the surrounding medium when exposed to light. These bacterial hydrogels allow spatially confined protein expression and dosed protein release over several weeks, regulated by the area and extent of light exposure. The possibility of incorporating such complex functions in a material using relatively simple material and genetic engineering strategies highlights the immense potential and versatility offered by living materials for protein-based biopharmaceutical delivery.
High-resolution Patterned Biofilm Deposition Using pDawn-Ag43.
Spatial structure and patterning play an important role in bacterial biofilms. Here we demonstrate an accessible method for culturing E. coli biofilms into arbitrary spatial patterns at high spatial resolution. The technique uses a genetically encoded optogenetic construct-pDawn-Ag43-that couples biofilm formation in E. coli to optical stimulation by blue light. We detail the process for transforming E. coli with pDawn-Ag43, preparing the required optical set-up, and the protocol for culturing patterned biofilms using pDawn-Ag43 bacteria. Using this protocol, biofilms with a spatial resolution below 25 μm can be patterned on various surfaces and environments, including enclosed chambers, without requiring microfabrication, clean-room facilities, or surface pretreatment. The technique is convenient and appropriate for use in applications that investigate the effect of biofilm structure, providing tunable control over biofilm patterning. More broadly, it also has potential applications in biomaterials, education, and bio-art.
A light-controlled cell lysis system in bacteria.
Intracellular products (e.g., insulin), which are obtained through cell lysis, take up a big share of the biotech industry. It is often time-consuming, laborious, and environment-unfriendly to disrupt bacterial cells with traditional methods. In this study, we developed a molecular device for controlling cell lysis with light. We showed that intracellular expression of a single lysin protein was sufficient for efficient bacterial cell lysis. By placing the lysin-encoding gene under the control of an improved light-controlled system, we successfully controlled cell lysis by switching on/off light: OD600 of the Escherichia coli cell culture was decreased by twofold when the light-controlled system was activated under dark condition. We anticipate that our work would not only pave the way for cell lysis through a convenient biological way in fermentation industry, but also provide a paradigm for applying the light-controlled system in other fields of biotech industry.
Biofilm Lithography enables high-resolution cell patterning via optogenetic adhesin expression.
Bacterial biofilms represent a promising opportunity for engineering of microbial communities. However, our ability to control spatial structure in biofilms remains limited. Here we engineerEscherichia coliwith a light-activated transcriptional promoter (pDawn) to optically regulate expression of an adhesin gene (Ag43). When illuminated with patterned blue light, long-term viable biofilms with spatial resolution down to 25 μm can be formed on a variety of substrates and inside enclosed culture chambers without the need for surface pretreatment. A biophysical model suggests that the patterning mechanism involves stimulation of transiently surface-adsorbed cells, lending evidence to a previously proposed role of adhesin expression during natural biofilm maturation. Overall, this tool-termed "Biofilm Lithography"-has distinct advantages over existing cell-depositing/patterning methods and provides the ability to grow structured biofilms, with applications toward an improved understanding of natural biofilm communities, as well as the engineering of living biomaterials and bottom-up approaches to microbial consortia design.
Optogenetic Control by Pulsed Illumination.
Sensory photoreceptors evoke numerous adaptive responses in Nature and serve as light-gated actuators in optogenetics to enable the spatiotemporally precise, reversible and noninvasive control of cellular events. The output of optogenetic circuits can often be dialed in by varying illumination quality, quantity and duration. Here, we devise a programmable matrix of light-emitting diodes to efficiently probe the response of optogenetic systems to intermittently applied light of varying intensity and pulse frequency. Circuits for light-regulated gene expression markedly differed in their responses to pulsed illumination of a single color which sufficed for sequentially triggering them. In addition to quantity and quality, the pulse frequency of intermittent light hence provides a further input variable for output control in optogenetics and photobiology. Pulsed illumination schemes allow the reduction of overall light dose and facilitate the multiplexing of several light-dependent actuators and reporters.