Team:Lethbridge Canada


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Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreatic beta cells that causes cell membranes to become more permeable to glucose. It helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body; more is secreted as more sugar enters the bloodstream after a meal is consumed. Insulin and glucagon (another pancreatic hormone that increases blood sugar levels) are partners in the negative feedback loop that control the body’s blood sugar concentration.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that is characterized by abnormally high blood glucose concentrations. Animal cells need glucose for energy, and these cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream with the help of insulin. Diabetes mellitus occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin so not enough is produced (type 1) or when the body’s cells become resistant to the action of insulin (type 2).

Our goal is to use the natural glucose detecting mechanism found in Escherichia coli and combine it with the human insulin producing gene to create a “prosthetic” pancreatic beta cell. The transcription of insulin will only begin when a change in glucose levels in the cell’s external environment stimulates a sensory transduction chain of events.There are two parts to our project:

1) Construct 1 focuses on the glucose sensing and gene regulating mechanism. We will implement the global respressor Mlc in order to control the rate at which the insulin gene is transcribed.

2) Construct 2 focuses on insulin production and release.


These people and institutions were vital in making the Lethbridge High School iGEM experience both possible and enjoyable:

University of Lethbridge - use of facilities

Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden - advising, arranging funding, and administration

Kim Orr- advising, organizing, as well as planning the trip to Indiana for the Jamboree

University of Lethbridge iGEM Team - guidance and assistance with laboratory procedures

Isaac Ward - help in teaching students proper usage of the spectrophotometer

Nathan Dawson - advising

Alvin Lee- advising

Ben Vuong- advising

Justin Luu - advising

Sutherland Dube - advising, guidance, arranging lab times, and keeping everyone on the same page


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