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Issue 9, 2012
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Post-transcriptional Boolean computation by combining aptazymes controlling mRNA translation initiation and tRNA activation

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Abstract

In cellular systems environmental and metabolic signals are integrated for the conditional control of gene expression. On the other hand, artificial manipulation of gene expression is of high interest for metabolic and genetic engineering. Especially the reprogramming of gene expression patterns to orchestrate cellular responses in a predictable fashion is considered to be of great importance. Here we introduce a highly modular RNA-based system for performing Boolean logic computation at a post-transcriptional level in Escherichia coli. We have previously shown that artificial riboswitches can be constructed by utilizing ligand-dependent Hammerhead ribozymes (aptazymes). Employing RNA self-cleavage as the expression platform-mechanism of an artificial riboswitch has the advantage that it can be applied to control several classes of RNAs such as mRNAs, tRNAs, and rRNAs. Due to the highly modular and orthogonal nature of these switches it is possible to combine aptazyme regulation of activating a suppressor tRNA with the regulation of mRNA translation initiation. The different RNA classes can be controlled individually by using distinct aptamers for individual RNA switches. Boolean logic devices are assembled by combining such switches in order to act on the expression of a single mRNA. In order to demonstrate the high modularity, a series of two-input Boolean logic operators were constructed. For this purpose, we expanded our aptazyme toolbox with switches comprising novel behaviours with respect to the small molecule triggers thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) and theophylline. Then, individual switches were combined to yield AND, NOR, and ANDNOT gates. This study demonstrates that post-transcriptional aptazyme-based switches represent versatile tools for engineering advanced genetic devices and circuits without the need for regulatory protein cofactors.

Graphical abstract: Post-transcriptional Boolean computation by combining aptazymes controlling mRNA translation initiation and tRNA activation

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Mar 2012, accepted on 01 Jun 2012 and first published on 01 Jun 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25091H
Citation: Mol. BioSyst., 2012,8, 2242-2248
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    Post-transcriptional Boolean computation by combining aptazymes controlling mRNA translation initiation and tRNA activation

    B. Klauser, A. Saragliadis, S. Ausländer, M. Wieland, M. R. Berthold and J. S. Hartig, Mol. BioSyst., 2012, 8, 2242
    DOI: 10.1039/C2MB25091H

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