Quorum Sensing pp 235-249 | Cite as

Design of Synthetic Mammalian Quorum-Sensing Systems

  • Wilfried Weber
  • Martin FusseneggerEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 692)


Synthetic quorum-sensing systems in mammalian cells has enabled the implementation of time- and distance-dependent bioprocesses, as well as the design of synthetic ecosystems emulating clinically important host–parasite interactions. In this chapter, we provide a detailed protocol of the design of a mammalian cell-to-cell signaling device and its integration into a mammalian quorum-sensing system for cell density-induced expression product genes. Cell-to-cell signaling is based on a sender cell, metabolically engineered for expression of alcohol dehydrogenase converting ethanol into acetaldehyde, and a receiver cell line for the dose-dependent translation of the acetaldehyde concentration into transgene expression by an acetaldehyde-responsive promoter. This protocol can be adapted easily to various cell types and transgenes for the design of versatile mammalian cell-based quorum-sensing systems.

Key words

Acetaldehyde AIR Alcohol dehydrogenase Cell phone Synthetic biology Synthetic ecosystem 



We thank Marcia Schoenberg for critical comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 3100A0-112549).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biosystems Science and EngineeringETH ZurichBaselSwitzerland

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