E. Musici


Our project aims to create a new system to quantify how environmental conditions effect the bacterium E. coli by engineering a system that produces a predictable response in a controlled environment. Many strains of E. coli possess flagella, a whip-like appendage that can be found protruding from both eukaryotic and prokaryotic single-celled organisms. The assembly and motor control of E. coli flagella is under the control of a key group of genetic factors primarily for flagella assembly and chemotactic control. Expression of these genes can be regulated by creating various combinations of genetic promoters, which modulate the activity of individual components of the flagella apparatus. By promoting the E. coli flagella genes under varying conditions, such as salt concentration, nitrate concentration, pH and temperature, we can identify a significant change in flagella rotation and frequency. Ultimately, this frequency can be translated into an audible range which can act as an indicator of the bacteria’s distress based on the varied environmental condition (see below). Thus, by specifying the bacteria’s response to an environmental change on a genetic level, the resulting frequency can be used as a convenient assay to determine the real time status of the culture.