Implementing an OR–NOT (ORN) logic gate with components of the SOS regulatory network of Escherichia coli
Whether biological or electronic, man-engineered computation is based on logic circuits assembled with binary gates that are interconnected to perform Boolean operations. We report here the rewiring of the SOS system of Escherichia in a fashion that makes the output of both the recA and lexA promoters to faithfully follow the pattern of a binary composite OR–NOT gate (ORN) in which the inputs are DNA damage (e.g. nalidixic acid addition) and IPTG as an exogenous signal. Unlike other non-natural gates whose implementation requires changes in genes and promoters of the genome of the host cells, this ORN was brought about by the sole addition of wild-type bacteria with a plasmid encoding a module for LacIq-dependent expression of lexA. Specifically, we demonstrate that the interplay between native, chromosomally-encoded components of the SOS system and the extra parts engineered in such a plasmid made the desired performance to happen without any modification of the core DNA-damage response network. It is thus possible to artificially interface autonomous cell networks with a predetermined logic by means of Boolean gates built with regulatory elements already functioning in the recipient organism.