Tailored synthetic sRNAs dynamically tune multilayer genetic circuits
Predictable and controllable tuning of genetic circuits to regulate gene expression, including modulation of existing circuits or constructs without the need for redesign or rebuilding, is a persistent challenge in synthetic biology. Here, we propose rationally designed new small RNAs (sRNAs) that dynamically modulate gene expression of genetic circuits with a broad range (high, medium, and low) of repression. We designed multiple multilayer genetic circuits in which the variable effector element is a transcription factor (TF) controlling downstream the production of a reporter protein. The sRNAs target TFs instead of a reporter gene, and harnessing the intrinsic RNA-interference pathway in E. coli allowed for a wide range of expression modulation of the reporter protein, including the most difficult to achieve dynamic switch to an OFF state. The synthetic sRNAs are expressed independently of the circuit(s), thus allowing for repression without modifying the circuit itself. Our work provides a frame for achieving independent modulation of gene expression and dynamic and modular control of the multilayer genetic circuits by only including an independent control circuit expressing synthetic sRNAs, without altering the structure of existing genetic circuits.
multilayer genetic circuit
570: Life Sciences, Biology