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FEBS Lett. 2014 Aug 1;588(15):2537-44. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2014.05.003. Epub 2014 May 17.

Synthetic therapeutic gene circuits in mammalian cells.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Regulatory Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences and School of Life Sciences, East China Normal University, Dongchuan Road 500, Shanghai 200241, China; Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, Mattenstrasse 26, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland.
Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering, ETH Zurich, Mattenstrasse 26, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland; Faculty of Life Science, University of Basel, Mattenstrasse 26, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland. Electronic address:


In the emerging field of synthetic biology, scientists are focusing on designing and creating functional devices, systems, and organisms with novel functions by engineering and assembling standardised biological building blocks. The progress of synthetic biology has significantly advanced the design of functional gene networks that can reprogram metabolic activities in mammalian cells and provide new therapeutic opportunities for future gene- and cell-based therapies. In this review, we describe the most recent advances in synthetic mammalian gene networks designed for biomedical applications, including how these synthetic therapeutic gene circuits can be assembled to control signalling networks and applied to treat metabolic disorders, cancer, and immune diseases. We conclude by discussing the various challenges and future prospects of using synthetic mammalian gene networks for disease therapy.


Cell therapy; Gene circuits; Gene regulation; Gene therapy; Synthetic biology

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