Course 3: Let’s Paint with Bacteria

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Course Description

Proteins are the most powerful and versatile tools in the synthetic biology toolbox. In this lesson, we’ll see what it takes to express a protein in bacteria. As an example, we’ll look at chromoproteins, simple short proteins that function as pigments in a variety of beautiful colors. Bacteria that express a chromoprotein show a visible color change, allowing us to track our synthetic genes with the naked eye and without fancy instruments. We’ll go deeper into how to handle and store transformed bacteria, how to verify the presence of a new gene, and how to model the expression of proteins in bacteria.

Goals for this Course

  • To create simple functional genes for expressing colorful chromoproteins.
  • To identify key DNA sequence elements required for protein expression.
  • To introduce methods for cutting up DNA into well defined pieces.
  • To produce a basic mathematical model for how proteins are expressed.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 

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  • Unit 1: Pretty Pretty Proteins 

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    • Decoding Functional DNA with BLAST
    • The Features of a Coding Sequence
    • CDS Quiz
  • Unit 2: Looking at DNA with your Actual Eyes 

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    • How to Make an Agarose Gel
    • How to Load an Agarose Gel
    • Gel Quiz
  • Unit 3: The Visual Signature of a Plasmid 

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    • Digital DNA Digests
    • How to Identify a Plasmid by Analytical Digest
    • All About Enzymatic Digests of DNA
    • Digest Quiz
  • Unit 4: Cell Pushing 

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    • How to Streak for Single Colonies
    • How to Store Microbes as Glycerol Stocks
    • Painting Quiz