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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 = {Ruiz, VMR and Sousa, GL and Sneed, SD and Farrant, KV and Christophides, GK and Povelones, M},
doi = {10.1371/journal.pone.0214753},
journal = {PLoS One},
pages = {1--14},
title = {Stimulation of a protease targeting the LRIM1/APL1C complex reveals specificity in complement-like pathway activation in Anopheles gambiae},
url = {},
volume = {14},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The complement-like pathway of the African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae provides protection against infection by diverse pathogens. A functional requirement for a core set of proteins during infections by rodent and human malaria parasites, bacteria, and fungi suggests a similar mechanism operates against different pathogens. However, the extent to which the molecular mechanisms are conserved is unknown. In this study we probed the biochemical responses of complement-like pathway to challenge by the Gram-positive bacterium Staphyloccocus aureus. Western blot analysis of the hemolymph revealed that S. aureus challenge activates a TEP1 convertase-like activity and promotes the depletion of the protein SPCLIP1. S. aureus challenge did not lead to an apparent change in the abundance of the LRIM1/APL1C complex compared to challenge by the Gram-negative bacterium, Escherichia coli. Following up on this observation using a panel of LRIM1 and APL1C antibodies, we found that E. coli challenge, but not S. aureus, specifically activates a protease that cleaves the C-terminus of APL1C. Inhibitor studies in vivo and in vitro protease assays suggest that a serine protease is responsible for APL1C cleavage. This study reveals that despite different challenges converging on activation of a TEP1 convertase-like activity, the mosquito complement-like pathway also includes pathogen-specific reactions.
AU - Ruiz,VMR
AU - Sousa,GL
AU - Sneed,SD
AU - Farrant,KV
AU - Christophides,GK
AU - Povelones,M
DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0214753
EP - 14
PY - 2019///
SN - 1932-6203
SP - 1
TI - Stimulation of a protease targeting the LRIM1/APL1C complex reveals specificity in complement-like pathway activation in Anopheles gambiae
T2 - PLoS One
UR -
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 14
ER -