Nov 15, 2022

Synthetic biology circuits can respond within seconds

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, chemistry

Synthetic biology offers a way to engineer cells to perform novel functions, such as glowing with fluorescent light when they detect a certain chemical. Usually, this is done by altering cells so they express genes that can be triggered by a certain input.

However, there is often a long lag time between an event such as detecting a molecule and the resulting output, because of the time required for to transcribe and translate the necessary genes. MIT synthetic biologists have now developed an alternative approach to designing such , which relies exclusively on fast, reversible protein-protein interactions. This means that there’s no waiting for genes to be transcribed or translated into proteins, so circuits can be turned on much faster—within seconds.

“We now have a methodology for designing protein interactions that occur at a very fast timescale, which no one has been able to develop systematically. We’re getting to the point of being able to engineer any function at timescales of a few seconds or less,” says Deepak Mishra, a research associate in MIT’s Department of Biological Engineering and the lead author of the new study.

Leave a reply