Bringing next-generation therapeutics to the clinic through synthetic biology.
ABSTRACT Recent advances in synthetic biology have created genetic tools with the potential to enhance the specificity, dynamic control, efficacy, and safety of medical treatments. Interfacing these genetic devices with human patients may thus bring about more efficient treatments or entirely new solutions to presently intractable maladies. Here we review engineered circuits with clinical potential and discuss their design, implementation, and validation.
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ABSTRACT: Biological computing circuits can enhance our ability to control cellular functions and have potential applications in tissue engineering and medical treatments. Transcriptional activator-like effectors (TALEs) represent attractive components of synthetic gene regulatory circuits, as they can be designed de novo to target a given DNA sequence. We here demonstrate that TALEs can perform Boolean logic computation in mammalian cells. Using a split-intein protein-splicing strategy, we show that a functional TALE can be reconstituted from two inactive parts, thus generating two-input AND logic computation. We further demonstrate three-piece intein splicing in mammalian cells and use it to perform three-input AND computation. Using methods for random as well as targeted insertion of these relatively large genetic circuits, we show that TALE-based logic circuits are functional when integrated into the genome of mouse embryonic stem cells. Comparing construct variants in the same genomic context, we modulated the strength of the TALE-responsive promoter to improve the output of these circuits. Our work establishes split TALEs as a tool for building logic computation with the potential of controlling expression of endogenous genes or transgenes in response to a combination of cellular signals.Nucleic Acids Research 08/2013; · 8.28 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In vitro recombination methods have enabled one-step construction of large DNA sequences from multiple parts. Although synthetic biological circuits can in principle be assembled in the same fashion, they typically contain repeated sequence elements such as standard promoters and terminators that interfere with homologous recombination. Here we use a computational approach to design synthetic, biologically inactive unique nucleotide sequences (UNSes) that facilitate accurate ordered assembly. Importantly, our designed UNSes make it possible to assemble parts with repeated terminator and insulator sequences, and thereby create insulated functional genetic circuits in bacteria and mammalian cells. Using UNS-guided assembly to construct repeating promoter-gene-terminator parts, we systematically varied gene expression to optimize production of a deoxychromoviridans biosynthetic pathway in Escherichia coli. We then used this system to construct complex eukaryotic AND-logic gates for genomic integration into embryonic stem cells. Construction was performed by using a standardized series of UNS-bearing BioBrick-compatible vectors, which enable modular assembly and facilitate reuse of individual parts. UNS-guided isothermal assembly is broadly applicable to the construction and optimization of genetic circuits and particularly those requiring tight insulation, such as complex biosynthetic pathways, sensors, counters and logic gates.Nucleic Acids Research 09/2013; · 8.28 Impact Factor