Sara Molinari, 29 Jan 2019
Sara Molinari will visit Caltech on 29-30 Jan 2019.
29 Jan (Tue):
30 Jan (Wed):
Engineering asymmetrical cell division into Escherichia coli
Sara Molinari, Rice University
29 Jan (Tue) @ 9 am, 111 Keck
Multicellularity, in eukaryotic organisms, is ultimately responsible for most of the tissues features, such as controlling its shape and size, distributing biochemical, structural and reproductive tasks. Multicellularity is reached through asymmetrical cell division in which progenitor cells create a differentiated daughter cell while retaining their original phenotype. Here, we describe a synthetic genetic circuit for controlling asymmetrical cell division in Escherichia coli. Specifically, we engineered an inducible system that can bind and segregate plasmid DNA to a single position in the cell. Upon division, the co-localized plasmids are kept by one and only one of the daughter cells. The other daughter cell receives no plasmid DNA and is hence irreversibly differentiated from its sibling. In this way, we achieved asymmetric cell division though asymmetric plasmid partitioning. We used this system to achieve physical separation of genetically different cells. We also characterized an orthogonal inducible circuit that enables the simultaneous asymmetric partitioning of two plasmid species – resulting in pluripotent cells that have four distinct differentiated states. These results point the way towards engineering multicellular systems from prokaryotic hosts.