Designed by: Caitlin Conboy and Jennifer Braff   Group: Antiquity   (2004-04-22)

Promoter O_H Test I0500.E0430

Induction and Subsequent Inhibition of the pBAD Promoter

(Characterized by SDU-Denmark 2017)
Expression by the pBAD promoter can be regulated tightly by induction and subsequent inhibition.
The pBAD promoter holds great potential to control the expression of genes that require tight regulation, as it is capable of both an induction and repression. The HKUST-Rice iGEM team from 2015 found that the pBAD promoter exhibits an almost all-or-none behaviour upon induction with arabinose when located on a high copy vector, but allows for gradual induction when cloned into a low copy vector. Thus, it was evident that this promoter on a high copy vector would be inappropriate for tightly regulated gene expression. Based on these findings, a low copy vector was used to investigate the ability to inhibit gene expression subsequent to induction of pBAD.

Gene expression was simulated by fluorescence microscopy using a pBAD-YFP reporter system, BBa_I6058. For this purpose, an Olympus IX83 with a photometrics prime camera was used with an exposure time for YFP at 200 ms. Transformed E. coli MG1655 cells were cultured in M9 minimal medium supplemented with 0.2% glycerol and 30 µg/mL chloramphenicol, to avoid catabolite repression from glucose residues present in LB medium. Two cultures were incubated, of which one was induced with 0.2 % arabinose from the beginning. At OD600=0.1, designated time 0, the cultures were split in two and 0.2 % glucose was added to one of each pair. Samples were obtained at time 0, before division of the cultures, and at 30 min, 60 min, and 120 min. The resulting images revealed, that the inducer arabinose was required to stimulate expression of YFP, and that the addition of the repressor glucose to a uninduced culture had no effect. Furthermore, it was evident that addition of arabinose induced expression of YFP, and that subsequent addition of glucose terminated the pBAD regulated gene expression, resulting in a reduced fluorescence level. 30 minutes after inhibition this reduction was already evident, and after 120 minutes the gene expression controlled by pBAD was even further decreased, as seen in Figure 1.


Figure 1. YFP fluorescence levels in E. coli MG1655 transformed with the pBAD-YFP reporter system on pSB3K3. Left: Cultures with the inducer arabinose added. Right: Cultures not induced with arabinose. Both cultures were split up at OD600=0.1, designated time 0, and the inhibitor glucose was added to one half of each culture. Images were obtained at 0, 30, 60, and 120 minutes.

This experiment made it clear, that gene expression controlled by the pBAD promoter is both inducible and repressible as required when cloned into the low copy vector pSB3K3.

Sequence and Features

Assembly Compatibility:
  • 10
  • 12
    Illegal NheI site found at 1205
  • 21
    Illegal BamHI site found at 1144
  • 23
  • 25
    Illegal AgeI site found at 979
  • 1000