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Proceedings Paper

Investigation of engineered bacterial adhesins for opportunity to interface cells with abiotic materials
Author(s): Jessica L. Terrell; Hong Dong; Ellen L. Holthoff; Meagan C. Small; Deborah A. Sarkes; Margaret M. Hurley; Dimitra N. Stratis-Cullum
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Paper Abstract

The convenience of cellular genetic engineering has afforded the power to build ‘smart’ synthetic biological tools with novel applications. Here, we have explored opportunities to hybridize engineered cells with inorganic materials toward the development of 'living' device-compatible systems. Cellular structural biology is engineerable based on the ability to rewrite genetic code to generate recombinant, foreign, or even unnatural proteins. With this capability on the biological end, it should be possible to achieve superior abio-compatibility with the inorganic materials that compose current microfabricated technology.

This work investigated the hair-like appendages of Escherichia coli known as Type 1 fimbriae that enable natural adhesion to glycosylated substrates. Sequence alterations within the fimbrial gene cluster were found to be well-tolerated, evidenced by tagging the fimbriae with peptide-based probes. As a further development, fimbriae tips could be reconfigured to, in turn, alter cell binding. In particular, the fimbriae were fused with a genetically optimized peptide-for-inorganics to enable metal binding.

This work established methodologies to systematically survey cell adhesion properties across a suite of fimbriae-modified cell types as well as to direct patterned cell adhesion. Cell types were further customized for added complexity including turning on secondary gene expression and binding to gold surfaces. The former demonstrates potential for programmable gene switches and the latter for interfacing biology with inorganic materials. In general, the incorporation of 'programmed' cells into devices can be used to provide the feature of dynamic and automated cell response. The outcomes of this study are foundational toward the critical feature of deliberate positioning of cells as configurable biocomponentry. Overall, cellular integration into bioMEMs will yield advanced sensing and actuation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2016
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 9863, Smart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XIII, 986308 (13 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2225722
Show Author Affiliations
Jessica L. Terrell, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Hong Dong, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Ellen L. Holthoff, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Meagan C. Small, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Deborah A. Sarkes, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Margaret M. Hurley, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)
Dimitra N. Stratis-Cullum, U.S. Army Research Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9863:
Smart Biomedical and Physiological Sensor Technology XIII
Brian M. Cullum; Douglas Kiehl; Eric S. McLamore, Editor(s)

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