Team:Hong Kong HKUST/pneumosensor


Project Pneumosensor Abstract

Figure 1. Pneumosensor Overview Diagram

Quorem-sensing peptide CSP produced by S. pneumoniae is detected by the Detection Module; the response regulator ComE links the Detection Module to the σx Promoters Module which ultimately drives the expression of GFP.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for approximately 1.6 million deaths every year mostly in developing countries where vaccination is unaffordable (World Health Organization, 2014). Current methods used for diagnosis of pneumococcal diseases include X-ray imaging of chest, PCR assay using blood and Gram stain using sputum (Muench, D. F., 2014). They require sophisticated equipments, help from physicians or laboratory settings, all of which are limited to people in third world countries. To provide an affordable solution to combat pneumococcal diseases, we are engineering an E. coli "Pneumosensor", that will work inside as an in vitro diagnostic device. Such a device should provide diagnosis result in absence of laboratories, medical equipments or doctors, making it more accessible for the people. Through this cheaper and easier diagnosis method, people can prepare themselves better against the transmission and adversity of S. pneumoniae.

Pneumosensor has a rewired comCDE signal transduction pathway native to S. pneumoniae that detects autoinducer molecules released specifically by S. pneumoniae. Upon detection of Streptococcus pneumonia, Pneumosensor will produce a fluorescence signal. Apart from that, Pneumosensor is also equipped with a new promoter, Com-Box promoter, for the specific and tight regulation of target gene expression in E. coli.


Muench, D. F. (2014). Pneumococcal Infections. Retrieved from: [Last Accessed 17, October 2014].

World Health Organization (2014). Pneumococcal disease. [ONLINE] Retrieved from: [Last Accessed 17 October 14].




Human Practice