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FEBS Lett. 2008 Apr 9;582(8):1237-44. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.01.060. Epub 2008 Feb 12.

Mining logic gates in prokaryotic transcriptional regulation networks.

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Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, CSIC, Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid 28049, Spain.


Prokaryotic transcriptional networks possess a large number of regulatory modules that formally implement many of the logic gates that are typical of digital, Boolean circuits. Yet, natural regulatory elements appear most often compressed and exaggeratedly context-dependent for any reliable circuit engineering barely comparable to electronic counterparts. To overcome this impasse, we argue that designing new functions with biological parts requires (i) the recognition of logic gates not yet assigned but surely present in the meta-genome, (ii) the orthogonalization and disambiguation of natural regulatory modules and (iii) the development of ways to tackle the connectivity and the definition of boundaries between minimal biological components.

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