Over the world, the Parkinson’s disease community has been expanding, and the average age of PD patients has become younger. Though Levodopa oral administration has already been proven to be efficient, there are still two major problems: It is hard to take medicine when the tremors occur, because PD can induce symptoms as tremor and myotonia. To cope with the problem, Levodopa should be instantly administrated when symptoms occur, but ingesting drug can be extremely hard when patients present symptoms like tremor and myotonia. If overdose it, patients may have choreiform movements. This makes us think of probiotics, which often reside in human body and can automatically supply human body with crucial vitamins. If we can genetically edit the bacteria in our gut to enable them to produce levodopa, the problem can be fixed.
Therefore, we decided to solve the problem by creating regulatable E. coli. Inspired by a previous iGEM program, Heidelberg 2014, we found that light might be a potential fit signal to regulate E.coli. It has several outstanding advantages: photoregulation is cheap, quick, and retrievable. These traits make light-regulation a perfectly fit for a medic project that is designed for people of every class, is planned come into effects within a short amount of time, and is conducted inside human body. We aim to engineer light-regulatable E.coli so that they can produce levodopa.
To measure the dosage precisely, we developed an intellectual bracelet. The bracelet can detect the tremors of Parkinson’s Disease. It can send signals to a processor, say a doctor, when the tremors do come. By combining the patient’s previous record, the processor would send a proper signal to a blue LED light which is previously fixed in the large intestine. Then, the LED would be lightened up. Induced by the signal, our engineered E Coli. will start to convert tyrosine into levodopa, which can make the tremor stopped.
To achieve the regulatable yielding, we control the transcription of the crucial enzyme. Only when the tremors come and blue LED lightens, the transcription would take place. If the light is off, the transcription will stop and yielding will end gradually. We expect the system to contribute a yielding positively relevant to the time that light presents, so that we can regulate dosage of L-dopa by simply increase or decrease the length of the time during which LED lightens.
Figure 1: An illustration for our general design.
: Sporer, K., 1991. Carbidopa-levodopa overdose. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 9(1), pp.47-48.