Team:Dundee

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         <h2 style="margin-top:-10px;"> The Microcystin Monster </h2>
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         <h2 style="margin-top:-10px;"> Targeting a Deadly Toxin</h2>
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         <p> Algal blooms are an ever-growing problem in freshwater systems. At the Beijing Olympics 2008, 10,000 people were hired to clean up the extensive algal bloom in time for the sailing regatta. The main concern is the level of a toxin called microcystin, which is released by cyanobacteria when they die and lyse. <br><br>
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        Explosions in the population of cyanobacteria can produce toxic algal blooms. Microcystin-LR the most potent and common algal bloom toxin, binds Protein Phosphatase 1. The average cyanobacteria infested lake in America contains over 1000 times the Microcystin safe drinking water limit set by the World Health Organisation. <br><br>
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        Concerned by a harmful algal bloom in the local community, we used synthetic biology to target the toxin. We exploited the mechanism of Microcystin's toxicity to develop our Mop; by expressing Protein Phosphatase 1 we can mop up Microcystin. The interaction was also the basis for developing a biological Detector. To deploy our Detector and to consider the root causes of algal blooms we created the electronic Moptopus. It sits on a lake and monitors conditions relevant to cyanobacterial growth to help predict future blooms.
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        Microcystin, a toxin released by <i>Microcystis aeruginosa</i>, is harmful to mammals due to its ability to bind to the human protein PP1, thus altering its function. We are exploiting the ability of the human protein phosphatase (PP1) to covalently bind to microcystin, in order to develop a biological mop ‘janitor’ to rid algal bloom water of the toxin.</p>
 
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                           <p><b style="font-size:16px;">Human Practices</b><br><br>Our project was motivated by the restrictions put in place at local reservoirs due to algal bloom outbreaks.</p>
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                           <p><b style="font-size:16px;">Human Practices</b><br><br>This project has been carried out in collaboration with the community. By informing, listening and responding to their input, our project is based around community defined need, and is not merely a technical exercise. </p>
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Latest revision as of 23:35, 28 October 2013

iGEM Dundee 2013 · ToxiMop

Targeting a Deadly Toxin

Explosions in the population of cyanobacteria can produce toxic algal blooms. Microcystin-LR the most potent and common algal bloom toxin, binds Protein Phosphatase 1. The average cyanobacteria infested lake in America contains over 1000 times the Microcystin safe drinking water limit set by the World Health Organisation.

Concerned by a harmful algal bloom in the local community, we used synthetic biology to target the toxin. We exploited the mechanism of Microcystin's toxicity to develop our Mop; by expressing Protein Phosphatase 1 we can mop up Microcystin. The interaction was also the basis for developing a biological Detector. To deploy our Detector and to consider the root causes of algal blooms we created the electronic Moptopus. It sits on a lake and monitors conditions relevant to cyanobacterial growth to help predict future blooms.