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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2015 Oct;28:20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2015.05.012. Epub 2015 Jun 5.

Synthetic biology expands chemical control of microorganisms.

Author information

1
Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
2
Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address: pamela_silver@hms.harvard.edu.

Abstract

The tools of synthetic biology allow researchers to change the ways engineered organisms respond to chemical stimuli. Decades of basic biology research and new efforts in computational protein and RNA design have led to the development of small molecule sensors that can be used to alter organism function. These new functions leap beyond the natural propensities of the engineered organisms. They can range from simple fluorescence or growth reporting to pathogen killing, and can involve metabolic coordination among multiple cells or organisms. Herein, we discuss how synthetic biology alters microorganisms' responses to chemical stimuli resulting in the development of microbes as toxicity sensors, disease treatments, and chemical factories.

PMID:
26056951
PMCID:
PMC4961477
DOI:
10.1016/j.cbpa.2015.05.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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