CH391L/S13/Genetic Circuits

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{{Quote|''"it is obvious from the analysis of these [bacterial genetic regulatory] mechanisms that their known elements could be connected into a wide variety of ‘circuits’ endowed with any desired degree of stability."'' <cite>Jacob1962</cite>}}
{{Quote|''"it is obvious from the analysis of these [bacterial genetic regulatory] mechanisms that their known elements could be connected into a wide variety of ‘circuits’ endowed with any desired degree of stability."'' <cite>Jacob1962</cite>}}
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Later, increased computing power was a considerable driving force for modeling gene regulation.  Still, a paucity of understood pathways and regulatory elements prevented major gains.  This situation changed with the onset of the ‘genomic era’, which was defined by developments like Sanger sequencing and PCR.  Armed with new biological ‘parts’, researchers began constructing genetic circuits that experimentally validated mathematical modeling as well as the belief that engineering principles could be applied to biological systems.  In the year 2000, a trinity of Nature papers demonstrated synthetic genetic circuitry [Gardner2000] [Elowitz2000] [Becskei2000].
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Later, increased computing power was a considerable driving force for modeling gene regulation.  Still, a paucity of understood pathways and regulatory elements prevented major gains.  This situation changed with the onset of the ‘genomic era’, which was defined by developments like Sanger sequencing and PCR.  Armed with new biological ‘parts’, researchers began constructing genetic circuits that experimentally validated mathematical modeling as well as the belief that engineering principles could be applied to biological systems.  In the year 2000, a trinity of Nature papers demonstrated synthetic genetic circuitry <cite>Gardner2000</cite><cite>Elowitz2000</cite><cite>Becskei2000<cite>.
===Definitions===
===Definitions===

Revision as of 20:44, 16 April 2013

Contents

Introduction

History

The concept of a “genetic circuit” has a long and storied past. When summarizing conclusions made during the 1961 Cold Spring Harbor Symposium, Francois Jacob and Jacques Monod – of Lac operon fame – established the electronic circuit paradigm for gene regulation. Jacob and Monod stated that different regulatory elements (i.e repressors, activators, etc.) could be assembled into a diversity of ‘circuits’ [1]. Here, we see a surprisingly accurate prediction for the developments that form a one of the major thrusts in synthetic biology.

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Later, increased computing power was a considerable driving force for modeling gene regulation. Still, a paucity of understood pathways and regulatory elements prevented major gains. This situation changed with the onset of the ‘genomic era’, which was defined by developments like Sanger sequencing and PCR. Armed with new biological ‘parts’, researchers began constructing genetic circuits that experimentally validated mathematical modeling as well as the belief that engineering principles could be applied to biological systems. In the year 2000, a trinity of Nature papers demonstrated synthetic genetic circuitry [2][3][4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, 14, 14, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 18, 18, 18, 18, 18, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 26, 27, 28, 29, 29, 29, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 30, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 31, 32, 32, 32, 32, 32, 32, 32, 32, 33, 33, 34, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 39, 40, 41, 41, 42, 43, 44, 44, 44, 44, 44, 44, 44, 44, 45, 46, 46, 46, 46, 47, 48, 48, 48, 48, 48, 48, 48, 49, 49, 49, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 54, 54, 54, 54, 55, 56, 56, 57, 57, 58, 59, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 64, 65, 66, 67, 67, 68, 68, 69, 70, 71, 71, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 80, 80, 81, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 90, 91, 92, 93, 93, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 114, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 134, 135, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 144, 144, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 153, 153, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 174, 174, 175, 176, 176, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 180, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214].

Perspective

Circuitry Concepts

Digital/Analog Signals

Two recently published articles exemplify the concept of digital/analog signals. In both publications, two orthogonal recombinases - also called an integrases - invert the orientation of DNA segments flanked by their respective recognition sequences. By arranging different flanked components (i.e terminators, promoters, and a GFP reporter gene), the researchers are able to assemble a logic gate that interprets a two-bit digital signal and produces a detectable output signal [215][216]. Here, the digital inputs are small molecules that induce expression of each recombinase and the analog output the presence or lack of constitutive (i.e. continuous) GFP expression.

Stability

State and Memory

Thresholding

Signal Amplification

Noise

Natural Genetic Circuits

Tryptophan Operon

The E. coli tryptophan (Trp) operon provides an interesting example of genetic regulation through input signal integration. In brief, the Trp operon regulates expression of tryptophan biosynthesis enzymes. In the presence of high tryptophan, Trp operon gene expression is undesirable. While transcriptional silencing depends upon tryptophan levels, two different detection methods are employed.

When the concentration of free tryptophan is high, a tryptophan–activated repressor (trp repressor) will bind to operator sequences blocking transcription by RNA polymerase. Next, a short leader transcript (trpL) detects tryptophanyl-tRNA levels as the coding sequence has two sequential tryptophan codons. Sufficiently high tryptophan levels permit adequate aminoacylation of the tRNATrp and standard translation. After translation termination, the ribosome will dissociate allowing the mRNA to fold into a terminator, which ends transcription. Should tryptophan and tryptophanyl-tRNA levels be low, the ribosome will pause upon encountering the adjacent tryptophan codons. Ribosome stalling leads to formation of an antiterminator that allows the RNA polymerase resume transcription. [Yanofsky2007]

Salmonella Phase Variation

Salmonella has the adaptive ability to switch or toggle between two flagellin genes thereby avoiding detection by the immune system. This so-called phase variation represents a nature example of bistability; the bacteria can exist in one of two ‘states’ [Yamamoto2006]. Interestingly, phase variation employs an inversion-mediated mechanism similar to recently published synthetic logic circuits [Siuti2013] [Bonnet2013].

CRISPR

Synthetic Genetic Circuits

Repressilator

Genetic Toggle

Cell-based Counter

CRISPRi

[]

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