Design and implementation of three incoherent feed-forward motif based biological concentration sensors

Syst Synth Biol. 2007 Aug;1(3):119-28. doi: 10.1007/s11693-007-9008-6. Epub 2007 Nov 1.


Synthetic biology is a useful tool to investigate the dynamics of small biological networks and to assess our capacity to predict their behavior from computational models. In this work we report the construction of three different synthetic networks in Escherichia coli based upon the incoherent feed-forward loop architecture. The steady state behavior of the networks was investigated experimentally and computationally under different mutational regimes in a population based assay. Our data shows that the three incoherent feed-forward networks, using three different macromolecular inhibitory elements, reproduce the behavior predicted from our computational model. We also demonstrate that specific biological motifs can be designed to generate similar behavior using different components. In addition we show how it is possible to tune the behavior of the networks in a predicable manner by applying suitable mutations to the inhibitory elements.