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    Blinking bacteria

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    Blinking bacteria


    Like a pulsing blue shower, E. coli cells flash in synchrony. Genes inserted into each cell turn a fluorescent protein on and off at regular intervals. When enough cells grow in the colony, a phenomenon called quorum sensing allows them to switch from blinking independently to blinking in unison. Researchers can watch waves of light propagate across the colony. Adjusting the temperature, chemical composition or other conditions can change the frequency and amplitude of the waves. Because the blinks react to subtle changes in the environment, synchronized oscillators like this one could one day allow biologists to build cellular sensors that detect pollutants or help deliver drugs.
    Public Note
    Internal Notehttp://publications.nigms.nih.gov/biobeat/10-01-20/index.html#1
    Keywordsdrug delivery, ecoli, Escherichia coli
    SourceJeff Hasty, University of California, San Diego
    Date2010-02-01 00:00:00
    Credit LineJeff Hasty, University of California, San Diego
    InvestigatorJeff Hasty, University of California, San Diego
    Record TypeVideo
    Topic Area(s);#Cells;#
    Previous UsesBiomedical Beat-January 20, 2010

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