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Issue 8, 2018
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Engineering of a genetic circuit with regulatable multistability

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Synthetic biologists are dedicated to designing genetic systems from the bottom up to understand how living systems work. To date, a variety of genetic circuits exhibiting bistability have been designed, greatly expanding our understanding of the biological multistability in natural systems. However, the study of more complex forms of biological multistability using synthetic methods is still limited. In this report, we describe the engineering of a genetic circuit with regulatable multistability. A novel genetic toggle switch exhibiting inducible bistability and a self-activation circuit were individually designed and characterized, after which they were assembled to create a circuit that presents tristability. In bacteria, this synthetic circuit enables cells to differentiate spontaneously into three different states of gene expression. Moreover, the multistability of the circuit can be modulated by external inputs. This work provides a synthetic biology framework for the study of biological multistability and may help to understand natural multistability phenomena.

Graphical abstract: Engineering of a genetic circuit with regulatable multistability

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Publication details

The article was received on 12 Feb 2018, accepted on 04 Jul 2018 and first published on 05 Jul 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8IB00030A
Citation: Integr. Biol., 2018,10, 474-482

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