Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Synthetic Biology in Action

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Sci. Signal.  18 Mar 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 11, pp. ec104
DOI: 10.1126/stke.111ec104

One goal of synthetic biology is to remodel intracellular processes at will. Bashor et al. (see the Perspective by Pryciak) wanted to engineer new regulatory properties into the well-studied mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in yeast that mediates the response to mating pheromones. By creating proteins with customized protein interaction domains, which altered the association of signaling proteins with a key scaffold protein that assembles proteins that participate in the signaling pathway, the authors changed complex regulatory properties of the signaling pathway. A gradual dose response could be modified into a switchlike all-or-none response, the time course of system response could be varied, or adaptation (a process in which output diminishes even in the presence of continued stimulus) could be added.

C. J. Bashor, N. C. Helman, S. Yan, W. A. Lim, Using engineered scaffold interactions to reshape MAP kinase pathway signaling dynamics. Science 319, 1539-1543 (2008). [Abstract] [Full Text]

P. M. Pryciak, Customized signaling circuits. Science 319, 1489-1490 (2008). [Summary] [Full Text]