Further discussion


This year, team Tsinghua-A utilized synthetic biology’s techniques to build up a system in S. cerevisiae to produce the H4 histamine receptor which is able to induce the pheromone responsive pathway and measure the histamine concentration in isolated human blood. The chassis in our project is a yeast strain derived from CEN.PK2-1C. To increase the coupling efficiency in the system, yeast Gpa1 gene was modified by substituting the five amino acids of its C terminal end with its mammalian Gα counterpart. Our professors, Zhen Xie, Xiaowo Wang, and Peng Li, are experienced in E. coli and S. cerevisiae genetic engineering experiments. (They all have been working as researcher or professor for at least 7 years.) They gathered us to learn the safety rules and to clean and sterilize the lab regularly. They also help us to learn how to use the toxic reagents, how to play sterile working.

General Safety Training

Before we started our experiments, all of our team members responsible for the wet-lab experiments received detailed and rigid training on biosafety and lab safety from Wang. The training included standard experimental procedures, usage of biosafety cabinets and normative disposal of experimental waste etc. As for the safe use of instruments, all the experiments are performed under the guidance of lab instructors which successfully lower the potential risk. As for the waste treatment, our lab is secure with a waste-dealing system that guarantee the waste fully decomposed or going to the right place.

Chassis Organism Safety

The escape of S. cerevisiae strain used in experiment may cause allergy to colleagues by forming aerosol in the air. But these deserters will not suffer long despite lab environment due to auxotroph characteristic of certain strain. As for E. coli, the same allergic effect, water pollution and pollution to other lab organic materials may act as a result of escaping and further generation. Since our strain does not hold a proliferate feature, dominance of this bacteria in environment is not likely to occur, thus provide less potential risk.

Experiment Safety

In order to minimize potentially risks that could be brought about by certain instruments and reagents, our members were requested to use normative protective equipment and follow the safety manuals throughout our lab time. Instruments like alcohol burner, centrifugal machine and hazardous reagents like ethidium bromide were carefully used and discarded according to the safety manuals. Gloves, lab coats, pants and close-toed shoes are demanded during lab time, and it is not allowed to touch about when wearing gloves. Besides, no food or drink is allowed in the working space.