Matching Items (3)

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Preparing synthetic biology for the world

Description

Synthetic Biology promises low-cost, exponentially scalable products and global health solutions in the form of self-replicating organisms, or “living devices.” As these promises are realized, proof-of-concept systems will gradually migrate

Synthetic Biology promises low-cost, exponentially scalable products and global health solutions in the form of self-replicating organisms, or “living devices.” As these promises are realized, proof-of-concept systems will gradually migrate from tightly regulated laboratory or industrial environments into private spaces as, for instance, probiotic health products, food, and even do-it-yourself bioengineered systems. What additional steps, if any, should be taken before releasing engineered self-replicating organisms into a broader user space? In this review, we explain how studies of genetically modified organisms lay groundwork for the future landscape of biosafety. Early in the design process, biological engineers are anticipating potential hazards and developing innovative tools to mitigate risk. Here, we survey lessons learned, ongoing efforts to engineer intrinsic biocontainment, and how different stakeholders in synthetic biology can act to accomplish best practices for biosafety.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013-01-25

Can the natural diversity of quorum-sensing advance synthetic biology?

Description

Quorum-sensing networks enable bacteria to sense and respond to chemical signals produced by neighboring bacteria. They are widespread: over 100 morphologically and genetically distinct species of eubacteria are known to

Quorum-sensing networks enable bacteria to sense and respond to chemical signals produced by neighboring bacteria. They are widespread: over 100 morphologically and genetically distinct species of eubacteria are known to use quorum sensing to control gene expression. This diversity suggests the potential to use natural protein variants to engineer parallel, input-specific, cell–cell communication pathways. However, only three distinct signaling pathways, Lux, Las, and Rhl, have been adapted for and broadly used in engineered systems. The paucity of unique quorum-sensing systems and their propensity for crosstalk limits the usefulness of our current quorum-sensing toolkit. This review discusses the need for more signaling pathways, roadblocks to using multiple pathways in parallel, and strategies for expanding the quorum-sensing toolbox for synthetic biology.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-03-10

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Regulation of cancer epigenomes with a histone-binding synthetic transcription factor

Description

Chromatin proteins have expanded the mammalian synthetic biology toolbox by enabling control of active and silenced states at endogenous genes. Others have reported synthetic proteins that bind DNA and regulate

Chromatin proteins have expanded the mammalian synthetic biology toolbox by enabling control of active and silenced states at endogenous genes. Others have reported synthetic proteins that bind DNA and regulate genes by altering chromatin marks, such as histone modifications. Previously, we reported the first synthetic transcriptional activator, the “Polycomb-based transcription factor” (PcTF) that reads histone modifications through a protein–protein interaction between the polycomb chromodomain motif and trimethylated lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3). Here, we describe the genome-wide behavior of the polycomb-based transcription factor fusion protein. Transcriptome and chromatin profiling revealed several polycomb-based transcription factor-sensitive promoter regions marked by distal H3K27me3 and proximal fusion protein binding. These results illuminate a mechanism in which polycomb-based transcription factor interactions bridge epigenomic marks with the transcription initiation complex at target genes. In three cancer-derived human cell lines tested here, some target genes encode developmental regulators and tumor suppressors. Thus, the polycomb-based transcription factor represents a powerful new fusion protein-based method for cancer research and treatment where silencing marks are translated into direct gene activation.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-01-09