Team:Shanghai High School



The preservation of vaccines is certainly critical. In order to maintain vaccines' temperature, RNA thermometer is designed to detect temperature in a precise and convenient way. After certain temperature is approached, the RNA thermometer will attempt to transcript color-protein codes in order to express an obvious reaction, and we also demonstrated that RNA thermometer can be expressed in TXTL. This system improves the temperature detecting ability of equipment into a more precise and convenient technique. Here we show that the RNA thermometer system reacts with visible colors by the temperature rises instantaneously. We found reacting temperatures is flexible if the genetic constructions of RNA thermometer changes. Our results demonstrate that this system has high capability of detecting temperatures in small amounts of changing. We anticipate our assay as a starting point of detecting temperature by RNA chain in order to invent or design more sophisticated coding expressions by this technique.

Our Project

Our project aims to design a color indicator based on the mechanism of RNA thermometer for vaccines using TXTL Cell-Free Expression method. TXTL Cell-Free Expression method is the production of protein using biological machinery without the use of living cells. Cell-Free transcription and translation systems are used for testing and facilitating the implementation of circuits in cells. TXTL reactions in microcompartments enable prototyping of molecular communication and integration into genetic circuits by copying critical cell features. We want to make this project into a product— a small reaction kit that can be easily used outside and has a long preservation time at room temperature. The product will be made into a business, and applied to human practices. Eventually, we intend to turn the business into social contribution to make the world a better place to live, such as to minimize unnecessary vaccine wastage during transportation and reduce the health risk of using damaged vaccines.

One key ingredients in our experiment is the reporter protein, which is used as a mechanism to display information. The chromoprotein is a conjugated protein that contains a pigmented prosthetic group, and quantifies the activity of upstream gene expression parts such as promoters and ribosome binding sites.

To model for our RNA thermometers, we select different RNA thermometers that respond to different temperatures. We find out that one base changes of the RNA in the thermometers can generate the desired outcome of temperature changes. The increased of temperature can cause the melting of RNA structure in thermometers. Thus, RBS will be exposed, initiating protein synthesis. As a result, we will see a color change that indicates a rise of temperature. The signal of temperature change can warn people of certain vaccine degeneration.