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We have designed a bacterial system that is switched between different states by red light. The system consists of a synthetic sensor kinase that allows a lawn of bacteria to function as a biological film, such that the projection of a pattern of light on to the bacteria produces a high-definition (about 100 megapixels per square inch), two-dimensional chemical image.

Here are a selection of sample coliroids taken with the bacterial photography system.

This system consists of two devices.

  1. A light sensor which takes red light as an input and produces PoPS as an output.
  2. A color generator which takes a PoPS signal as input and generate color as an output.

Diagram courtesy of Drew Endy.

This diagram shows the list of parts that make up each of the two devices.

Diagram courtesy of Drew Endy.

For details on system implementation, see the reference at the bottom of this page.

BBa_B0034RBSRBS (Elowitz 1999) -- defines RBS efficiency12In stock
BBa_E0033ReporterLacZ alpha fragment; complements matching N-terminal deletion mutant (lacZ-omega)353In stock
BBa_I15008Codingheme oxygenase (ho1) from Synechocystis751In stock
BBa_I15009Codingphycocyanobilin:ferredoxin oxidoreductase (PcyA) from synechocystis775In stock
BBa_I15010Codingcph8 (Cph1/EnvZ fusion)2263In stock
BBa_K098010GeneratorHO-pcyA, low expression1531It's complicated
BBa_K098011GeneratorE. coli ompR, expressed at low level917It's complicated
BBa_K1479004RBSJust for upload test431Not in stock
BBa_K1587008DeviceRed light biosensor2288It's complicated
BBa_K1660004CompositePcyA+Ho11585It's complicated
BBa_K1660005ReporterRFP controlled by the PompR promoter978In stock
BBa_K1660006CompositeJ23100-B0034-cph82299Not in stock
BBa_K1660007CompositePompR-6N-gp35-Terminator1773It's complicated
BBa_K2656011RBSMedium Ribosome Binding Site B0034 22It's complicated
BBa_K338029Composite+OmpR, +(CinR-HSL) Double Promoter347It's complicated
BBa_K592000Codingcph8 (Cph1/EnvZ fusion)2238In stock
BBa_M30109CompositeLight responsive system, dual regulation4333It's complicated
BBa_M45047SignallingEstrogen Activated GFP1035Not in stock
BBa_R0082RegulatoryPromoter (OmpR, positive)108In stock

SyntheticBiologyCompetition2004People.jpg System design and implementation by Anselm Levskaya, Aaron Chevalier, Jeff Tabor, Laura Lavery, Matthew Levy, Eric Davidson, Alexander Scouras, Andy Ellington, Ed Marcotte, and Chris Voigt of the 2004 joint University of Texas at Austin and UCSF iGEM team.



  1. Levskaya pmid=16306980
  2. Tabor pmid=19563759