Doctor of Philosophy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2009)
Michael Lin, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
We describe "clonetegration", a method for integrating DNA into prokaryotic chromosomes that approaches the simplicity of cloning DNA within extrachromosomal vectors. Compared to existing techniques, clonetegration drastically decreases the time and effort needed for integration of single or multiple DNA fragments. Additionally, clonetegration facilitates cloning and expression of genetic elements that are impossible to propagate within typical multicopy plasmids.
View details for DOI 10.1021/sb400021j
View details for PubMedID 24050148
A variety of genetically encoded reporters use changes in fluorescence (or Förster) resonance energy transfer (FRET) to report on biochemical processes in living cells. The standard genetically encoded FRET pair consists of CFPs and YFPs, but many CFP-YFP reporters suffer from low FRET dynamic range, phototoxicity from the CFP excitation light and complex photokinetic events such as reversible photobleaching and photoconversion. We engineered two fluorescent proteins, Clover and mRuby2, which are the brightest green and red fluorescent proteins to date and have the highest Förster radius of any ratiometric FRET pair yet described. Replacement of CFP and YFP with these two proteins in reporters of kinase activity, small GTPase activity and transmembrane voltage significantly improves photostability, FRET dynamic range and emission ratio changes. These improvements enhance detection of transient biochemical events such as neuronal action-potential firing and RhoA activation in growth cones.
View details for DOI 10.1038/NMETH.2171
View details for Web of Science ID 000309519300023
View details for PubMedID 22961245
Bacteriophage lambda infection of Escherichia coli can result in distinct cell fate outcomes. For example, some cells lyse whereas others survive as lysogens. A quantitative biophysical model of lambda infection supports the hypothesis that spontaneous differences in the timing of individual molecular events during lambda infection leads to variation in the selection of cell fates. Building from this analysis, the lambda lysis-lysogeny decision now serves as a paradigm for how intrinsic molecular noise can influence cellular behavior, drive developmental processes, and produce population heterogeneity. Here, we report experimental evidence that warrants reconsidering this framework. By using cell fractioning, plating, and single-cell fluorescent microscopy, we find that physical differences among cells present before infection bias lambda developmental outcomes. Specifically, variation in cell volume at the time of infection can be used to help predict cell fate: a approximately 2-fold increase in cell volume results in a 4- to 5-fold decrease in the probability of lysogeny. Other cell fate decisions now thought to be stochastic might also be determined by pre-existing variation.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0808831105
View details for Web of Science ID 000262092800027
View details for PubMedID 19098103