Team:Minnesota/Project/UV Absorption


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UV Absorption by Skin Microbes

      Between 2 and 3 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancers arise each year, making skin cancer the most prevalent form of cancer worldwide. With skin cancer such a prominent problem worldwide, we are looking into alternative methods to protect against UV radiation. Photosynthetic organisms create an array of compounds, called mycosporine like amino acids, which naturally protect them against UV radiation. The cyanobacterium, Anabaena variabilis, contains a cluster of four genes capable of producing two UV protective compounds, mycosporine-glycine and shinorine. Utilizing BioBrick™ vector techniques, we intend to clone these genes out of A. variabilis and into Escherichia coli for characterization. After characterization and determination of the efficiency of the genes in E. coli, we will clone the shinorine gene cluster into Staphylococcus epidermidis. Successful introduction of this gene cluster and expression of UV-protective compounds could be useful as a one-time-application alternative to currently marketed sunscreens.

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