为了解决这一问题，新加坡南洋理工大学的科学家阙路宝（Chueh Loo Poh）和马修·沃克·张（Matthew Wook Chang）对大肠杆菌的DNA（脱氧核糖核酸）进行了修改，使其能够探测到绿脓杆菌与同类进行交流时所释放出的一种独特分子信号LasR。这种分子信号的出现意味着有大量绿脓杆菌的聚集。此时，经过修改的大肠杆菌就如同一颗“生物感应炸弹”一样会发生自爆并释放出大量的绿脓菌素。这种物质对绿脓杆菌具有毒性，因而起到将其杀灭的作用。实验显示，当这两种细菌处于单独的环境中时，经过人工修改的大肠杆菌能杀灭99%的绿脓杆菌。
Engineering microbes to sense and eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a human pathogen
Nazanin Saeidi, Choon Kit Wong, Tat-Ming Lo, Hung Xuan Nguyen, Hua Ling, Susanna Su Jan Leong, Chueh Loo Poh, Matthew Wook Chang
Synthetic biology aims to systematically design and construct novel biological systems that address energy, environment, and health issues. Herein, we describe the development of a synthetic genetic system, which comprises quorum sensing, killing, and lysing devices, that enables Escherichia coli to sense and kill a pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain through the production and release of pyocin. The sensing, killing, and lysing devices were characterized to elucidate their detection, antimicrobial and pyocin release functionalities, which subsequently aided in the construction of the final system and the verification of its designed behavior. We demonstrated that our engineered E. coli sensed and killed planktonic P. aeruginosa, evidenced by 99% reduction in the viable cells. Moreover, we showed that our engineered E. coli inhibited the formation of P. aeruginosa biofilm by close to 90%, leading to much sparser and thinner biofilm matrices. These results suggest that E. coli carrying our synthetic genetic system may provide a novel synthetic biology-driven antimicrobial strategy that could potentially be applied to fighting P. aeruginosa and other infectious pathogens.