(366b) Synthetic Control of Transcription: A Decade's Perspective on Synthetic Promoter Design

Authors: 
Alper, H., The University of Texas at Austin

Synthetic biology provides the means of designing novel parts to aid in the controlled, tunable, and regulated expression of individual genes, circuits, and pathways.  Over the past decade, significant progress has been made in the area of promoter engineering.  This talk will cover several advances in the area that range from random point-mutation guided approaches to new, model based design of synthetic parts.  By utilizing such approaches, it is possible to create libraries of transcriptional control that can span several 100’s of fold with respect to mRNA level.  An emphasis will be placed on newer approaches to minimize the size of synthetic transcriptional control elements in yeast.  Next, this talk will discuss the synthetic design of expression cassettes and operons and the impact of genetic context for synthetic parts—a particularly important aspect for characterization and predicable function. By synthetically altering upstream regions, terminator components, and promoter structure, defined and reproducible function can be obtained. Collectively, these results demonstrate novel approaches to synthetically alter and control gene transcription—a central goal of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology efforts.  Once we have mastered these aspects, it is possible to design transcriptional control from scratch.  This talk will conclude with progress toward this goal.