Team:Austin UTexas LASA



Dopamine (3,4-dihydroxyphenethylamine) is a catecholamine and phenethylamine family chemical that perform important functions within the brain and body. While its causes are still unknown, Parkinson’s disease is highly associated with the lack of dopamine in particular regions of the brain. Presently, one of the most common treatments for Parkinson’s is the prescription of levodopa tablets, which increases dopamine levels by introducing dopamine’s chemical precursor, levodopa to the body. Our project involves building DNA circuits that produce and sense levodopa levels using bacteria. One plasmid focuses on the production of levodopa, including the HpaBC gene, and the second plasmid, a multigene assembly, senses the levodopa produced by the first plasmid. The sensing plasmid includes a promoter ppddc, a cognate promoter for the L-dopa responsive transcription factor, pp2551, a LysR family activator. We have a Venus fluorescent protein assembled into the sensing plasmid so that we are able to visualize and measure the amount of levodopa produced via a fluorescence assay.

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