Detecting & Controlling Protein Expression with mRNA Devices
Synthetic biology is a growing field that introduces exogenous, synthesized biological components to influence natural biological systems. Synthetic biology has pioneered many new therapeutic strategies, including gene and protein replacement through the introduction of modified mRNA, DNA, or modified immune or stem cells into an organism.
Beyond our current capabilities, however, is the goal to program cell fate autonomously. This requires rapiddetection and response to intracellular protein levels enabling a more precise, sensitive and sophisticated system to regulate cell fate.
Recently, published in Nucleic Acids Research, a group of Japanese researchers set out to design mRNA constructs with improved sensitivity to detect endogenous proteins in human cells, allowing the information to be transmitted to downstream synthetic translational regulatory systems.
"A protein-driven mRNA device that detects a particular target protein and regulates post-transcriptional expression of exogenous genes can be used to build complex and sophisticated gene circuits, because the output protein from the device can serve as the input protein of other circuits," the researchers explain.
The existing techniques to detect specific proteins, such as western blotting, immunostaining, and chemical probes enable the analyzation of protein expression to be characterized, however, these methods often rely on...