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Syst Synth Biol. 2007 Dec;1(4):183-95. doi: 10.1007/s11693-008-9017-0. Epub 2008 Jun 18.

Computational design of digital and memory biological devices.

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  • 1Instituto de Biologia Molecular y Celular de Plantas, CSIC-Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain.


The use of combinatorial optimization techniques with computational design allows the development of automated methods to design biological systems. Automatic design integrates design principles in an unsupervised algorithm to sample a larger region of the biological network space, at the topology and parameter levels. The design of novel synthetic transcriptional networks with targeted behaviors will be key to understand the design principles underlying biological networks. In this work, we evolve transcriptional networks towards a targeted dynamics, by using a library of promoters and coding sequences, to design a complex biological memory device. The designed sequential transcription network implements a JK-Latch, which is fully predictable and richer than other memory devices. Furthermore, we present designs of transcriptional devices behaving as logic gates, and we show how to create digital behavior from analog promoters. Our procedure allows us to propose a scenario for the evolution of multi-functional genetic networks. In addition, we discuss the decomposability of regulatory networks in terms of genetic modules to develop a given cellular function. Summary. We show how to use an automated procedure to design logic and sequential transcription circuits. This methodology will allow advancing the rational design of biological devices to more complex systems, and we propose the first design of a biological JK-latch memory device.

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