About This Project
Encapsulins are a class of bacterial protein nanocompartments (NCs) that self-assemble and envelope functional ‘cargo’ proteins. Compared to other classes of NCs, encapsulins are simple, yet they are stable and can carry robust cargo. We believe these properties represent a bold opportunity for novel drug transport and delivery. We are utilizing Clathrin-Mediated endocytosis, a conserved process across eukaryotes that intakes nutrients and chemicals from the environment.
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What is the context of this research?
Certain species of bacteria construct protein nanocompartments (NCs) that isolate metabolic reactions and protect the cell from potentially harmful bioproducts. Encapsulins (Encs) are one class of such NCs that self-assemble and envelope functional cargo proteins. Compared to other classes of NCs, encapsulins are thermo- and pH-stable and can carry robust cargo. We plan to take advantage of these encapsulins to deliver different cargos, including proteins and nucleic acids, using the conserved process of clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME).
What is the significance of this project?
Delivering therapeutic drugs could be challenging due to the potential of breaking down in the bloodstream before reaching the target cells or buildup in organs. This would decrease the potency of the drug. Encapsulins have a relatively stable internal environment and could be used to incorporate molecules to protect their integrity. We hope to use encapsulins to incorporate proteins and RNAs. In doing so, we can continue to contribute to the field of non-invasive drug delivery.
What are the goals of the project?
Our goal of this project for this season is to incorporate alpha factors on the outside of the encapsulin shells to stimulate clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) into yeast cells. The first part of our project is to deliver mNeon proteins into yeast cells. When the yeast cells successfully intake the encapuslins from the environment through CME, we could observe yeast cells glow neon green. In the later part of our project, we plan to incorporate mRNA as our cargo and stimulate endosomal release for delivery into the cytoplasm.
As an entirely student-run lab group, we count on your support to acquire the materials necessary to run experiments, make progress on our project, and travel to Paris to present our project. We rely entirely on donations from sources such as University of Michigan Academic Departments, generous corporations, and fundraising opportunities like this. Your contribution will directly fund the supplies we need to continue the research process and make this drug delivery system possible.
This includes PCR reagents to amplify our plasmid and gene sequencing, precast protein gels and buffer for protein analysis, imidazole for purification.
Another portion of our budget goes toward operating our lab and paying for supplies such as glass and plastic-ware, micro-pipettes and tips, disposable inoculating loops to transfer bacteria, culture tubes for proliferating bacteria.
Lastly, the rest of our budget goes to funding our registration for the iGEM competition in October.
The PCR and transformation of our plasmids into the bacteria will take place between June and July. The bacteria will produce the assembled encapsulin with the cargo (mNeon). We anticipate vacuole degradation of encapsulin in yeast starting in early August to the end of the month.
We are also planning to explore different kinds of cargo including protein (fluorescence and insulin) and RNA to induce RNA interference.
Jun 07, 2021
Jun 09, 2021
Complete plasmid PCR cloning
Jun 24, 2021
Jul 01, 2021
Releasing our result
Jul 09, 2021
Meet the Team
The Michigan Synthetic Biology Team is an entirely student-run research and engineering design team in the biological sciences. We develop and execute our own research projects in the area of synthetic biology. Students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in conducting scientific research, running a laboratory, engineering novel biological systems, fundraising, public outreach, leadership, and working as part of a multidisciplinary team.
I am a rising Junior study Cellular Molecular Biomedical Science. My current research interest is using intestinal electrostimulation to alleviate and treat diabetes and stomach dysfunction. I am passionate about researching alternative medicine to treat people. In my free time, I like to read and exercise.
I am a junior in biomedical engineering. I hope to go to medical school and apply scientific and engineering research to clinical practice. In my free time, I love running and going to new coffee shops!
I am a rising Sophomore at the University of Michigan studying Biochemistry. In addition to MSBT, I contribute to pre-clinical drug development in the translational oncology lab of Dr. Nouri Neamati. After graduation, I hope to attend medical school and become an oncologist. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, running, and listening to podcasts.
I am a rising Junior studying biochemistry. I hope to attend graduate school in cellular biology after I graduate. Outside of lab, I enjoy exploring the wonderful city of Ann Arbor and going on runs!
I am a rising junior majoring in biomedical engineering and minoring in computer science. As a member of the Michigan Synthetic Biology Team (MSBT), I have an affinity for engineering biology to improve human health. Beyond MSBT, I contribute to research in the Systems Biology lab using computational techniques to elucidate cellular metabolism. I also serve as a research assistant in the NOBEl lab helping with research on regenerative medicine for skeletal muscle. In my spare time, I enjoy exercising, reading, and learning about the history of science and technology.
Hey Everyone! My name is John Yin and I am a rising sophomore at the University of Michigan! I plan on majoring in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science. Some of my pastimes include reading, writing, and going on walks with friends in the Arb.
I am a junior studying cellular and molecular biomedical science, a major which combines biomedical engineering and molecular biology. After graduating, I hope to attend medical school with the goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist, using my knowledge of biomedical engineering and synthetic biology to contribute to the development of novel cancer treatments. Outside of MSBT, I am also involved in a clinical research project studying the psychological adjustment of pediatric type one diabetics and am working with an organization called Detroit Vitals to develop a virtual clinic to serve members of the Detroit community without insurance. In my free time, I enjoy reading, ballet dancing, and baking.
I am a rising junior at the University of Michigan studying computer engineering with an interest in biomedical applications. I've been a member of MSBT since my freshman year and am excited to conduct lab work and grow the team's online presence. Outside of MSBT, I develop clinical data obfuscation software in the Statistics Online Computational Resource Lab and currently contribute to drug combination discovery research in the Systems Biology lab. In my free time, you're likely to find me climbing a new route, reading a novel, or drawing from life.
I am a rising junior studying biochemistry at the University of Michigan. I have been a member of MSBT for the past year, and also work as an undergraduate researcher in a medicinal chemistry lab, which is interested in studying potential drug targets and discovering new antibiotics for two increasingly antibiotic-resistant pathogens. In the future, I plan on earning my PhD to continue pursuing my passion for research, using what I learn to help understand and address problems related to infectious disease and medicine. When I'm not in the lab, I enjoy traveling, recreating outdoors and spending time with friends.
I am a rising junior studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Michigan. After graduating, I hope to pursue an MD/PhD and use my knowledge of synthetic biology to create novel cancer immunotherapies. Outside of MSBT, I perform research in the Shea Lab related to engineering CAR T cells to better fight HER2+ breast cancer. I am also an associate editor at the University of Michigan Undergraduate Research Journal, a member of the Quizbowl team, and Project Lead at Alternative Spring Break - Chicago. In my free time, I like to run, watch Netflix, and grill!
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