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Bio-Builder Smelly Feet Presentation

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Erin Gu

on 8 June 2015

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Transcript of Bio-Builder Smelly Feet Presentation

Basic Experiments
Change promoter
Thank you
Questions? Feedback?

This is the first biotechnology club at Charlestown High School. We are all recent immigrants from China. We've been here for less than two and half years on average.
Charlestown High School
Bacterial transformation
Before we started our research project, we first did some basic experiments to learn laboratory techniques. We extracted and observed strawberry and cheek cell DNA. We also successfully transformed some
E. coli
bacteria in the
What A Colorful World

We all go to work after school four days a week, but that hasn't stopped us from spending 2 hours every week to pursue our interests in biotechnology.
It's not easy to satisfy everyone in a group of eight as everyone has his/her own ideas. Therefore, we've changed our topics through the research process.
Project Ideas
Initial Idea
We decided pretty early that we wanted to do something with smell. We wanted to design a bacteria that would gather and turn pollen into perfume
But we realized soon that pollen are very tough. The outer wall of the pollen grain is composed of sporopollenin. Sporopollenin is extremely stable and resistant to degradation by enzymes and strong chemical reagents. Very few organisms can digest pollen. Because of this, the exact chemical composition of sporopollenin is still unknown.
So we decided to focus on designing an organism that would produce floral smells used in perfumes. We invited engineer Nate Tedford from Ginkgo Bioworks to tell us about their work in this area.

But we couldn't find a way to make our product different from the perfumes that are already on the market. So we went back to the drawing board.
Final Idea
After much research and discussion, we finally decided on a project we liked and seemed feasible. Instead of creating a smell, we decided to try to eliminate a smell. We wanted to stop stinky feet.
We found that smelly feet is usually caused by naturally-occurring bacteria living on our skin. One of the bacteria most responsible for feet odor is
Brevibacterium linens
B. linens
takes the amino acid methionine and turn it into methanethiol in a chemical reaction catalyzed by L-methionine-γ-lyase (MGL).
B. linens
Methanethiol (gas)
MGL (enzyme)
B. linens
is also vital in producing certain cheeses known for their strong flavor.
B. linens
The gene for MGL enzyme has also been isolated and identified (Amarita et. al, 2004). The nucleotide sequence reported appears in the DDBJ, EMBL, and GenBank nucleotide sequence databases under accession number AY622198.
mgl gene
lac repressor
lac repressor
lac rep
In this design, a lac promoter system is used to replace the current promoter for the mgl gene inside
B. linens
. This design eliminates odor on human skin but preserves
B. linens
' utility in cheese production.

Specifically, the mgl gene would be
in the absence of lactose (such as on human skin), and
in the presence of lactose (such as in cheese production). Methanethiol is produced only in the presence of lactose.
Other Considerations
Technical issues
How to isolate and replace current promoter?
What restriction enzymes to use?
What antibiotic resistance should we use?
Application to humans:
How to ensure new organism is compatible with other bacteria on skin?
How to increase new strain's competitiveness against old strain?
Yinfang Li, Minting Chen, Weixiu Deng, Luyu Huang, Felix Li, Yuzi Li, Karmen Situ, Tiffany Zhong
Full transcript