Programming living cells offers the prospect of harnessing sophisticated biological machinery for transformative applications in energy, agriculture, water remediation and medicine. Inspired by engineering, researchers in the emerging field of synthetic biology have designed a tool box of small genetic components that act as intracellular switches, logic gates, counters and oscillators.

But scientists have found it difficult to wire the components together to form larger circuits that can function as “genetic programs.” One of the biggest obstacles? Dealing with a small number of available wires.

A team of biologists and engineers at UC San Diego has taken a large step toward overcoming this obstacle. Their advance, detailed in a paper which appears in this week’s advance online publication of the journal Nature, describes their development of a rapid and tunable post-translational coupling for genetic circuits. This advance builds on their development of “biopixel” sensor arrays reported in Nature by the same group of scientists two years ago.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140409134732.htm

140409134732-large