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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 = {Hindley, JW and Zheleva, DG and Elani, Y and Charalambous, K and Barter, LMC and Booth, PJ and Bevan, CL and Law, RV and Ces, O},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1903500116},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},
pages = {16711--16716},
title = {Building a synthetic mechanosensitive signaling pathway in compartmentalized artificial cells},
url = {},
volume = {116},
year = {2019}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - To date reconstitution of one of the fundamental methods of cell communication, the signaling pathway, has been unaddressed in the bottom-up construction of artificial cells (ACs). Such developments are needed to increase the functionality and biomimicry of ACs, accelerating their translation and application in biotechnology. Here we report the construction of a de novo synthetic signaling pathway in microscale nested vesicles. Vesicle cell models respond to external calcium signals through activation of an intracellular interaction between phospholipase A2 and a mechanosensitive channel present in the internal membranes, triggering content mixing between compartments and controlling cell fluorescence. Emulsion-based approaches to AC construction are therefore shown to be ideal for the quick design and testing of new signaling networks and can readily include synthetic molecules difficult to introduce to biological cells. This work represents a foundation for the engineering of multi-compartment-spanning designer pathways that can be utilised to control downstream events inside an artificial cell, leading to the assembly of micromachines capable of sensing and responding to changes in their local environment.
AU - Hindley,JW
AU - Zheleva,DG
AU - Elani,Y
AU - Charalambous,K
AU - Barter,LMC
AU - Booth,PJ
AU - Bevan,CL
AU - Law,RV
AU - Ces,O
DO - 10.1073/pnas.1903500116
EP - 16716
PY - 2019///
SN - 0027-8424
SP - 16711
TI - Building a synthetic mechanosensitive signaling pathway in compartmentalized artificial cells
T2 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
UR -
UR -
UR -
VL - 116
ER -