Description: Paleobtilis "Back to the origins..." A shield for the Lascaux cave The Lascaux cave is in danger ! The Lascaux cave has been home to parietal paintings for more than 18 000 years. It has been discovered in 1940, and opened to the public a few years later. It gained success right away, and hundreds of people visited the cave, which first caused algal contamination. The cave was subsequently closed in 1963 to the public. It is currently infested by bacteria and fungi that cause black and white spots on the paintings. Diverse treatments have been tested (antibiotics, antifungals, chemicals, manual scratching...), but no long term solution was found. Worse, the ecosystem was disturbed... We are offering a biological solution that consists in creating a bacteria with a predation system that will be able to use the bacteria responsible for the development of fungi as a nutritive source (such as Pseudomonas fluorescens). Moreover, our bacteria will have the ability to sense the presence of fungi (like sp. Ochroconis), and get rid of it. We have divided our project in 3 modules: 1) Predation module We will create a Bacillus subtilis strain that possesses a skf operon under the control of a constitutive promoter Pveg. This will enable the bacteria to use Pseudomonas fluorescens as a nutritive source, and thus deprive fungi from their prime support. 2) Antifungal module The modified Bacillus subtilis will be able to sense fungi's presence with a specific recognition of N-acetylglucosamine (thanks to the inducible promoter PnagP). That would trigger the production of an antifungal cocktail. 3) Confinement module The double system toxin/antitoxin avoids the propagation of the genetic material in the environment. Also, a third plasmid contains a gene coding for a subunit of the RNA polymerase (we will knock out the strain for it) and for the RepU gene (which controls plasmid replication) under the control of a repressed promoter. With this system, we can control our bacteria lifetime. It is also spo- to prevent Bacillus subtilis sporulation. Why did we choose this subject? After months of intense brainstorming, we finally decided to work on the conservation of the Lascaux cave. We wanted to choose a project that was personal and original. We first thought of a solution for damaged paintings that were attacked by fungi and bacteria. The Lascaux cave then imposed itself. It is part of the French heritage, and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. It has been threatened of destruction since decades now, and organizations from all around the world have gathered to solve the Lascaux cave crisis, unfortunately without success. The Lascaux cave is what traces us back to our humanity. The first men lived there and the first pieces of art ever were created. Combining art and science was an interesting idea, but we wanted a system that could be used in other disciplines as well, like public health. As you know, there is always a high risk of fungal infection in health institutions, where the situation is similar to the one in the Lascaux cave. Thus, a biofilm of bacteria is a nutritive source for fungi and our solution, if it was to be improved, could be used to solve the problem locally and for a selected period of time.
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Year: 2016Visit Wiki
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Updated at: 8/9/16