Engineering bacteria for biogenic synthesis of chalcogenide nanomaterials
Microbes naturally build nanoscale structures, including structures assembled from inorganic materials. Here we combine the natural capabilities of microbes with engineered genetic control circuits to demonstrate the ability to control biological synthesis of chalcogenide nanomaterials in a heterologous host. We transferred reductase genes from both Shewanella sp. ANA-3 and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium into an heterologous host (Escherichia coli) and examined the mechanisms that
... echanisms that regulate the properties of biogenic nanomaterials. Expression of arsenic reductase genes and thiosulfate reductase genes in E. coli resulted in the synthesis of arsenic sulfide nanomaterials. In addition to processing the starting materials via redox enzymes, cellular components also nucleated the formation of arsenic sulfide nanomaterials. The shape of the nanomaterial was influenced by the bacterial culture, with the synthetic E. coli strain producing nanospheres and conditioned media or cultures of wild type Shewanella sp. producing nanofibers. The diameter of these nanofibers also depended on the biological context of synthesis. These results demonstrate the potential for biogenic synthesis of nanomaterials with controlled properties by combining the natural capabilities of wild microbes with the tools from synthetic biology.