Programming the group behaviors of bacterial communities with synthetic cellular communication

Wentao Kong, Venhar Celik, Chen Liao, Qiang Hua, Ting Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Synthetic biology is a newly emerged research discipline that focuses on the engineering of novel cellular behaviors and functionalities through the creation of artificial gene circuits. One important class of synthetic circuits currently under active development concerns the programming of bacterial cellular communication and collective population-scale behaviors. Because of the ubiquity of cell-cell interactions within bacterial communities, having an ability of engineering these circuits is vital to programming robust cellular behaviors. Here, we highlight recent advances in communication-based synthetic gene circuits by first discussing natural communication systems and then surveying various functional engineered circuits, including those for population density control, temporal synchronization, spatial organization, and ecosystem formation. We conclude by summarizing recent advances, outlining existing challenges, and discussing potential applications and future opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number24
JournalBioresources and Bioprocessing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Bacterial communities
  • Cellular communication
  • Collective behaviors
  • Dynamics
  • Gene circuits
  • Synthetic biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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