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iGEM Grenoble 2012



During the past thirty years the world has been at peace but tomorrow will be different. Since the invention of antibiotics, mankind has been over-using those molecules to cure diseases. However, we also miss used them and we are on the edge of paying the bill back. Indeed, recent years have seen the emergence of resistance in bacteria; making the treatment using antibiotics less and less efficient.
Today, certain strains of bacteria are resistant to several antibiotics; making the treatment process difficult and engaging the life expectancy of patients; especially in the case of severe infections. [1] [2]

Several governments are taking measurements against the spreading of these Multi-resistant Bacteria (MRB); for example by limiting cross contamination in hospitals or by reducing the selection pressure on microorganisms (limiting antibiotic treatments). These measurements are often expensive to set up and are not 100% efficient.

A way to limit the contamination would be to establish a systematic screening on each patient. However, this would be very expensive (cost assessment) and the system can simply not afford this kind of expense.

This year iGEM 2012 Grenoble team brings Synthetic Biology to a whole new level.

Our Device:

We worked on three modules to create our device: detection, amplification and communication between bacteria.


The membrane receptor has already been built. It consists of the assembly of two peptidic sequences: the external part comes from the Tap protein, a receptor involved in chemotaxism, and the internal part comes from the EnvZ protein, which is the sensory histidine kinase of the EnvZ/OmpR two-component system.


The team used an existing part like no other teams did before. We embezzled the pAra/Bad promoter from E. coli to use it as an AND gate. We tested this new AND gate (results).


In order to improve the strength of the output signal, we hijacked a natural communication system present in E. Coli which allow bacteria to communicate using cyclic Adenosin MonoPhosphate (cAMP) (these de guillaume en ref).

Our Safety project:

During the summer, we worked on risks due to manipulations in the laboratory. More precisely we focused on the risks linked to UV radiation, chemicals and biology. For the two first, we succeeded in reducing the exposition of the team members and further users of the laboratory.

We focused our work on the biological risk. Synthetic Biology is an emerging activity and even if the current method to evaluate the biological risks does not reveal any risk, this does not mean that it is true. Some feedbacks about GMO used in different fields seem to have drawbacks.

Since the first iGEM competition the number of teams has been increasing; and because we think that it will continue, we tried to develop a way to store team feedbacks on the use of biobricks. However, we developed a prototype which is why we asked for feedbacks from other teams (Virginia, Gröningen, Edinburg and Paris Bettencourt) to improve its structure and content.

The result is a BioBrick Safety Sheets; this project could really improve the structuring of the information, but a work was done to link it with the current registry of standard biological parts. In the future, if this structure is used this would lead to the creation of a software that would contain every interactions for each BioBrick. This is the way we participate on the improvement of the safety in Synthetic Biology.

In the future, we hope that this safety sheet will be implemented in the part registry and be linked with software which would be accessible online (like the NCBI Database).