Controlled Cell Division


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Cool things could be done if it is possible to synchronize cell devision in a population. When based on Quorum Sensing, one could achieve propagating concentric waves of currently dividing cells, possibly expressing GFP.

The "Concentric Division" approach

Basic Concept

A certain strain of bacteria tends to aggregate to clusters due to some aggregation factor they constitutively express. Cell devision is inhibited and individuals of can only start cell devision when a certain factor D in the environment reaches a threshold. This factor D would be produced by each cell constitutively, but in insufficient concentration. Thus, only when a sufficient local cluster density is reached (Quorum Sensing), the cells will suddenly start to multiply locally.

While dividing (and only while dividing), the cells would also express GFP and some factor D- which will lead to the quick degradation/inhibition of D, so that only the region of currently deviding cells would be fluorescent, (hopefully) resulting in concentric waves propagating from the center to the outside.


  • Of course it is probably far from trivial to reliably inhibit cell devision. A suitable substance inducing cell division has to be identified, which can controlled.
  • There needs to be a resting period after cell devision.
  • It is hard to say how far the rings would really propagate before fading out due to a lack of D, but in any case, the patterns should be concentric and periodic in some way.
  • GFP has to have a higher production and degradation speed then the devision cycle.

Possible Extensions


>> for comments, questions and temporary remarks go to the Talk:Controlled_Cell_Division

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