Programmable and printable Bacillus subtilis biofilms as engineered living materials

Journal: Nature Chemical Biology

Published: 2018-12-03

DOI: 10.1038/s41589-018-0169-2

Affiliations: 13

Authors: 16

Go to article

Research Highlight

Bacterial factories for living materials

© SCIEPRO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

© SCIEPRO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty

Bacteria could be used to create materials that can grow, self-heal and evolve with their surroundings.

Synthetic biologists are harnessing living cells to engineer non-living materials with life-like abilities. But for use in humans, these materials must be safe and stable with completely controllable properties.

A team that included researchers from Shanghai Tech University used genetic engineering to modify the fibrous protein biofilms otherwise naturally produced by the harmless bacterium Bacillus subtilis.

By reprogramming the bacterium’s TasA protein, they could produce biofilms with different properties, from fluorescence to the ability to assist in breaking down pesticides. The biofilms could be 3D printed into diverse shapes and self-regenerate for several weeks without losing performance.

This bacterial biofilm factory could produce versatile materials for medical implants, biosensors and drug delivery.

Supported content

  1. Nature Chemical Biology 15, 34–41 (2019). doi: 10.1038/s41589-018-0169-2
Institutions Share
School of Physical Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech, China 0.54
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Regulatory Biology, ECNU, China 0.13
School of Life Science and Technology (SLST), ShanghaiTech, China 0.06
MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), United States of America (USA) 0.06
Division of Physical Biology, SINAP CAS, China 0.03
SSRF Bioimaging Center, SINAP CAS, China 0.03
Shanghai Synchrotron Radiation Facility (SSRF), SINAP CAS, China 0.03
CAS Key Laboratory of Interfacial Physics and Technology (IPAT), SINAP CAS, China 0.03
Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry (SIOC), CAS, China 0.03
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry and Chemical Processes, ECNU, China 0.01
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering (SCCE), SJTU, China 0.01
Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) at Renji Hospital, SJTU, China 0.01
Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM), China 0.01

Return