Yonathan Arfi
UMR 1332 Biologie du Fruit et Pathologie INRA

Equipe SoftMicrosystem
Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, CNRS Univ. Bordeaux


The project MycoFluidic is an interdisciplinary effort aiming at developing microfluidics methods to manipulate minimal cells, then apply these techniques to better understand some key aspects of Synthetic Biology. The design and creation of a synthetic micro-organism requires the ability to transplant a genome inside a suitable cellular chassis. Our limited knowledge of the fundamental mechanisms underlying the management of this transplanted chromosome by the recipient cell is currently restricting our ability to create compatible genome/chassis pairs. In order to better understand these phenomenon, we propose to study the transplantation process at the single-cell level, in the minimal bacteria mycoplasma. The first goal of the project will be to encapsulate single mycoplasma cells in micro-compartments using a microfluidic system, and then to prepare the naked and intact chromosome of these cells. Secondly, each individual chromosomes will be transplanted inside a single recipient cell using microfluidic manipulations. This project will necessitate a very strong communication between the two groups involved, including the co-supervision of two Masters students. The Mollicutes team at INRA will provide its knowledge of mycoplasma biology and genome transplantation. The SoftMicrosystem group will be in charge of developing new microfluidics systems in order to accommodate the specificities of mycoplasma, and to allwo the transplantation to be performed at the single-cell level. This project fits both the RP1 (minimal cells) and RP3 (bionanoscience for synthetic biology) research program of the ATT Synthetic Biology in Bordeaux. In will bring together two highly innovative research groups with complementary skills, and will promote the dissemination of microfluidic techniques to the biology-based laboratories. Furthermore, the success of the project will also lead to major long-term improvements in our ability to create “on demand” biological systems, which is essential for the development of metabolic engineering, the third research program of SB2.

Nominees 2016-2017