(312a) Genetically Programmable Microbial Assembly | AIChE

(312a) Genetically Programmable Microbial Assembly


Silverman, B. - Presenter, California Institute of Technology
Kozlowski, M., California Institute of Technology
Tirrell, D., California Institute of Technology
In nature, most bacteria live in multicellular, often multi-species biofilms or aggregates, which enables emergent properties including resistance to environmental insult, cellular communication, and metabolic flexibility. In this work, we are developing methods to attempt to recapitulate some of these properties in an engineered microbial system. In this presentation, we will demonstrate that by surface display of associative proteins on the surface of Escherichia coli, we can program inter-cellular association of bacterial cells, leading to programmable aggregation of the microbes. By choice of the associative protein and control of their expression levels, we are able to control the dynamics, equilibrium state, and stimuli-responsiveness of the underlying aggregates. Finally, we will show that using these aggregates as biocatalysts in multi-step biosynthetic reactions, we are able to increase titers of target chemicals due to channeling of intermediate species within the aggregates. The techniques discussed in this work may have broader applications in metabolic engineering, waste water treatment, and human health.