Howdy partner, pony up! Me and my gang of ragamuffins are heading off to the Jamboree and we got no time to lose. Have to make it in time to saddle up and ride on over to celebrate the annual gathering with our E-cowli! It's going to be a tootin' good time.
Real-time controllable nanorobots are an attractive goal of engineering and robotics. However, current nanorobots are limited by the precision of control: most utilize magnetic or electric field based steering. Yet, light-based control through laser technology, offers precise spatial resolution at the diffraction limit. In our project, Droving with Dronpa, we seek to modify the chemotactic machinery of E. coli by modulating the activity of the critical chemotaxis protein CheY. The GFP-related protein Dronpa has been demonstrated to reversibly block kinase activity through light-induced dimerization. Our team has designed a novel Dronpa-CheY fusion protein to precisely control the movement of E. coli with different wavelengths of light. Since Dronpa controls CheY activity directly, the effects after exposure to light will be rapid, compared to cases controlled by gene regulation. The control of E. coli that can be precisely ‘driven’ on the micrometer-scale may revolutionize targeted medical treatment, bioanalytical sensing, and nanomanufacturing.