Functionalizing Soft Matter for Molecular Communication.

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TitleFunctionalizing Soft Matter for Molecular Communication.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsLiu, Y, Wu, H-C, Chhuan, M, Terrell, JL, Tsao, C-Y, Bentley, WE, Payne, GF
JournalACS Biomater Sci Eng
Date Published2015 May 11

The information age was enabled by advances in microfabrication and communication theory that allowed information to be processed by electrons and transmitted by electromagnetic radiation. Despite immense capabilities, microelectronics has limited abilities to access and participate in the molecular-based communication that characterizes our biological world. Here, we use biological materials and methods to create components and fabricate devices to perform simple molecular communication functions based on bacterial quorum sensing (QS). Components were created by protein engineering to generate a multidomain fusion protein capable of sending a molecular QS signal, and by synthetic biology to engineer E. coli to receive and report this QS signal. The device matrix was formed using stimuli-responsive hydrogel-forming biopolymers (alginate and gelatin). Assembly of the components within the device matrix was achieved by physically entrapping the cell-based components, and covalently conjugating the protein-based components using the enzyme microbial transglutaminase. We demonstrate simple devices that can send or receive a molecular QS signal to/from the surrounding medium, and a two-component device in which one component generates the signal (i.e., issues a command) that is acted upon by the second component. These studies illustrate the broad potential of biofabrication to generate molecular communication devices.

Alternate JournalACS Biomater Sci Eng
PubMed ID26501127
PubMed Central IDPMC4603720