Red-Light-Induced Genetic System for Control of Extracellular Electron Transfer

Fengjie Zhao, Christina M. Niman, Ghazaleh Ostovar, Marko S. Chavez, Joshua T. Atkinson, Benjamin M. Bonis, Jeffrey A. Gralnick, Mohamed Y. El-Naggar, James Q. Boedicker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Optogenetics is a powerful tool for spatiotemporal control of gene expression. Several light-inducible gene regulators have been developed to function in bacteria, and these regulatory circuits have been ported to new host strains. Here, we developed and adapted a red-light-inducible transcription factor for Shewanella oneidensis. This regulatory circuit is based on the iLight optogenetic system, which controls gene expression using red light. A thermodynamic model and promoter engineering were used to adapt this system to achieve differential gene expression in light and dark conditions within a S. oneidensis host strain. We further improved the iLight optogenetic system by adding a repressor to invert the genetic circuit and activate gene expression under red light illumination. The inverted iLight genetic circuit was used to control extracellular electron transfer within S. oneidensis. The ability to use both red- and blue-light-induced optogenetic circuits simultaneously was also demonstrated. Our work expands the synthetic biology capabilities in S. oneidensis, which could facilitate future advances in applications with electrogenic bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1476
Number of pages10
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 17 2024
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


  • cytochromes
  • electrochemical measurements
  • extracellular electron transfer
  • optogenetics
  • red light
  • Shewanella oneidensis MR-1


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