Revision as of 03:27, 28 September 2013 by Jennafriedt (Talk | contribs)

Project Overview

The current growth in synthetic biology research promises more complex and useful engineered systems. However, increased complexity often requires more genetic material that can be difficult to introduce into organisms. The 2013 Lethbridge iGEM FRAMEchanger project has produced a new class of gene regulatory parts that can be used for compression of multiple coding sequences into a smaller amount of genetic space. This is achieved by programmed ribosomal frameshifting induced by the RNA structural motif called a pseudoknot. Addtionally, this part can by used for variable tagging of proteins, regulated expression of proteins in an operon, and other applications in the field of synthetic biology. The pseudoknot’s ability to induce ribosomal frameshifting can be modulated by changing the stability of the pseudoknot structure. In this way, a library of frameshifting parts with variable frameshifting frequencies can be made available for a variety of applications. A software tool has also been developed to facilitate zipping multiple coding sequences into overlapped reading frames. Ultimately, this library of standardized parts will be available for use in a variety of engineered systems requiring minimal coding space and multiple protein expression.

  • Our project is directed towards standardizing pseudoknots to make a new class of parts available to the synthetic biology community

  • As the field of synthetic biology grows, so should its toolset. By introducing a standardized method of implementing programmed ribosomal frameshifts in synthetic gene networks, we could not only enable others to reduce plasmid size and regulate operon expression, but also enable them to come up with new, exciting applications

  • We have brought pseudoknots to the iGEM community by:
    • Characterizing their function in a biobrick system
    • Designing software that enables others to dual code proteins
    • Ensuring that the release of these tools to the wider public does not pose a significant risk to the rest of the world