Programming Escherichia coli to function as a digital display.

Molecular systems biology (2020-03-07)
Jonghyeon Shin, Shuyi Zhang, Bryan S Der, Alec Ak Nielsen, Christopher A Voigt
ABSTRACT

Synthetic genetic circuits offer the potential to wield computational control over biology, but their complexity is limited by the accuracy of mathematical models. Here, we present advances that enable the complete encoding of an electronic chip in the DNA carried by Escherichia coli (E. coli). The chip is a binary-coded digit (BCD) to 7-segment decoder, associated with clocks and calculators, to turn on segments to visualize 0-9. Design automation is used to build seven strains, each of which contains a circuit with up to 12 repressors and two activators (totaling 63 regulators and 76,000 bp DNA). The inputs to each circuit represent the digit to be displayed (encoded in binary by four molecules), and output is the segment state, reported as fluorescence. Implementation requires an advanced gate model that captures dynamics, promoter interference, and a measure of total power usage (RNAP flux). This project is an exemplar of design automation pushing engineering beyond that achievable "by hand", essential for realizing the potential of biology.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

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