As previous iGEM teams have shown, synthesizing fully functional magnetosomes in E. coli is highly difficult as more than 60 highly regulated genes are involved. As a more feasible alternative, we simply want to synthesize magnetic nanoparticles in E. coli in order to attract cells with strong magnetic fields.
Therefore we want to use different strategies including manipulation of the iron homeostasis of E. coli, expression of different metal binding proteins such as ferritins and metallothioneins as well as a high-throughput growth medium optimization.
Furthermore, we will work with other metal binding proteins such as metallothioneins and phytochelatin synthases in order to achieve nanoparticle synthesis.
Once we have discovered the best way to magnetize E. coli bacteria, we will build and characterize suitable BioBricks that can be used by any research lab or iGEM team in the world in order to remote control the cellular movement.