We began our experiments with a competent cell check to find the optimal concentration of DNA for working with NEB 5-alpha Competent E. coli. Next, we found the ideal promoter strength for the growth of COX-2 and c-Myc by performing the Gibson Assembly with three different Anderson promoters of different strengths. In order to observe phenotypic proof of these results the competent cells were transformed and plated, as well as expanded into solution so both the number of colonies, as well as the optical density of the solutions were used to support the optimal promoter strength.
We then moved on to find the most efficient promoter-to-binding domain combinations for both the c-Myc and COX-2 genes by testing a variety of them and seeing which produced the most glowing colonies in the presence of rapamycin. We also utilized this phase to make sure that the combinations glowed only when rapamycin was present. We concluded this test with the combinations of the COX-2 promoter with the FRB domain, and the c-Myc promoter with the FKBP domain being the most efficient combinations. The last step was to ensure that the construct glowed only when all parts were present, and to prove that the promoters had altered the shape of the nonspecific binding domains to become specific to the corresponding proteins. We did this by expanding incomplete combinations into tubes and observing whether they glowed or not. We found that none of the tubes glowed, no matter if they were missing a gene, or one of the promoter-reporter systems. The only tube that glowed was the one containing both COX-2 and c-Myc promoter-reporter systems, both respective genes, as well as rapamycin. .
With more time, we would like to implement our current model into a yeast system. This would prove advantageous as it will confirm the working of our model in an eukaryotic organism. Using yeast, followed by flow cytometry, would allow us to collect quantitative data that could be better analyzed. Additionally, we would work on the upregulation of c-Myc production for the effectiveness of our experiment. This was a limiting factor in our experiment and continues to be a weak point in our design and planning. Most importantly, our team would like to develop a 3D prototype for a home-kit that would diagnose CRC. Our goal would be to develop a home-diagnosis kit similar in method and design to the home-pregnancy kit, where the product would be commercially approved and easily available. Our model would consist of two solutions that would be combined with the addition of a sample of fecal matter. This would address a major component of our project goal in developing a more convenient treatment and detection method for colorectal cancer.