guy poncing

Synthetic Biology underpins advances in the bioeconomy

Biological systems - including the simplest cells - exhibit a broad range of functions to thrive in their environment. Research in the Imperial College Centre for Synthetic Biology is focused on the possibility of engineering the underlying biochemical processes to solve many of the challenges facing society, from healthcare to sustainable energy. In particular, we model, analyse, design and build biological and biochemical systems in living cells and/or in cell extracts, both exploring and enhancing the engineering potential of biology. 

As part of our research we develop novel methods to accelerate the celebrated Design-Build-Test-Learn synthetic biology cycle. As such research in the Centre for Synthetic Biology highly multi- and interdisciplinary covering computational modelling and machine learning approaches; automated platform development and genetic circuit engineering ; multi-cellular and multi-organismal interactions, including gene drive and genome engineering; metabolic engineering; in vitro/cell-free synthetic biology; engineered phages and directed evolution; and biomimetics, biomaterials and biological engineering.



BibTex format

author = {Gilbert, C and Howarth, M and Harwood, CR and Ellis, T},
doi = {10.1021/acssynbio.6b00292},
journal = {ACS Synthetic Biology},
pages = {957--967},
title = {Extracellular self-assembly of functional and tunable protein conjugates from Bacillus subtilis},
url = {},
volume = {6},
year = {2017}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The ability to stably and specifically conjugate recombinant proteins to one another is a powerful approach for engineering multifunctional enzymes, protein therapeutics, and novel biological materials. While many of these applications have been illustrated through in vitro and in vivo intracellular protein conjugation methods, extracellular self-assembly of protein conjugates offers unique advantages: simplifying purification, reducing toxicity and burden, and enabling tunability. Exploiting the recently described SpyTag-SpyCatcher system, we describe here how enzymes and structural proteins can be genetically encoded to covalently conjugate in culture media following programmable secretion from Bacillus subtilis. Using this approach, we demonstrate how self-conjugation of a secreted industrial enzyme, XynA, dramatically increases its resilience to boiling, and we show that cellular consortia can be engineered to self-assemble functional protein–protein conjugates with tunable composition. This novel genetically encoded modular system provides a flexible strategy for protein conjugation harnessing the substantial advantages of extracellular self-assembly.
AU - Gilbert,C
AU - Howarth,M
AU - Harwood,CR
AU - Ellis,T
DO - 10.1021/acssynbio.6b00292
EP - 967
PY - 2017///
SN - 2161-5063
SP - 957
TI - Extracellular self-assembly of functional and tunable protein conjugates from Bacillus subtilis
T2 - ACS Synthetic Biology
UR -
UR -
VL - 6
ER -