Rationally designed families of orthogonal RNA regulators of translation

Vivek K. Mutalik, Lei Qi, Joao C. Guimaraes, Julius B. Lucks, Adam P. Arkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our ability to routinely engineer genetic networks for applications is limited by the scarcity of highly specific and non-cross-reacting (orthogonal) gene regulators with predictable behavior. Though antisense RNAs are attractive contenders for this purpose, quantitative understanding of their specificity and sequence-function relationship sufficient for their design has been limited. Here, we use rationally designed variants of the RNA-IN-RNA-OUT antisense RNA-mediated translation system from the insertion sequence IS10 to quantify >500 RNA-RNA interactions in Escherichia coli and integrate the data set with sequence-activity modeling to identify the thermodynamic stability of the duplex and the seed region as the key determinants of specificity. Applying this model, we predict the performance of an additional ∼2,600 antisense-regulator pairs, forecast the possibility of large families of orthogonal mutants, and forward engineer and experimentally validate two RNA pairs orthogonal to an existing group of five from the training data set. We discuss the potential use of these regulators in next-generation synthetic biology applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-454
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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