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Journal of biological engineering

A positive feedback-based gene circuit to increase the production of a membrane protein.


PMID 20500847

Abstract

Membrane proteins are an important class of proteins, playing a key role in many biological processes, and are a promising target in pharmaceutical development. However, membrane proteins are often difficult to produce in large quantities for the purpose of crystallographic or biochemical analyses. In this paper, we demonstrate that synthetic gene circuits designed specifically to overexpress certain genes can be applied to manipulate the expression kinetics of a model membrane protein, cytochrome bd quinol oxidase in E. coli, resulting in increased expression rates. The synthetic circuit involved is an engineered, autoinducer-independent variant of the lux operon activator LuxR from V. fischeri in an autoregulatory, positive feedback configuration. Our proof-of-concept experiments indicate a statistically significant increase in the rate of production of the bd oxidase membrane protein. Synthetic gene networks provide a feasible solution for the problem of membrane protein production.

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