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Addressable, "Packet-Based" Intercellular Communication through Plasmid Conjugation

By John P. Marken, Richard M. Murray

Posted 27 Mar 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/591552

We develop a system for implementing "packet-based" intercellular communication in an engineered bacterial population via conjugation. Our system uses gRNA-based identification markers that allow messages to be addressed to specific strains via Cas9-mediated cleavage of messages sent to the wrong recipient, which we show reduces plasmid transfer by four orders of magnitude. Integrase-mediated editing of the address on the message plasmid allows cells to dynamically update the message's recipients in vivo. As a proof-of-concept demonstration of our system, we propose a linear path scheme that would propagate a message sequentially through the strains of a population in a defined order.

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