A versatile cis-acting inverter module for synthetic translational switches

Nat Commun. 2013;4:2393. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3393.


Artificial genetic switches have been designed and tuned individually in living cells. A method to directly invert an existing OFF switch to an ON switch should be highly convenient to construct complex circuits from well-characterized modules, but developing such a technique has remained a challenge. Here we present a cis-acting RNA module to invert the function of a synthetic translational OFF switch to an ON switch in mammalian cells. This inversion maintains the property of the parental switch in response to a particular input signal. In addition, we demonstrate simultaneous and specific expression control of both the OFF and ON switches. The module fits the criteria of universality and expands the versatility of mRNA-based information processing systems developed for artificially controlling mammalian cellular behaviour.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Capsid Proteins / genetics
  • Capsid Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Biosynthesis / genetics*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • RNA Helicases
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Capsid Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • UPF2 protein, human
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • SMG1 protein, human
  • RNA Helicases
  • UPF1 protein, human