Synthesizing AND gate genetic circuits based on CRISPR-Cas9 for identification of bladder cancer cells

Nat Commun. 2014 Nov 6:5:5393. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6393.


The conventional strategy for cancer gene therapy offers limited control of specificity and efficacy. A possible way to overcome these limitations is to construct logic circuits. Here we present modular AND gate circuits based on CRISPR-Cas9 system. The circuits integrate cellular information from two promoters as inputs and activate the output gene only when both inputs are active in the tested cell lines. Using the luciferase reporter as the output gene, we show that the circuit specifically detects bladder cancer cells and significantly enhances luciferase expression in comparison to the human telomerase reverse transcriptase-renilla luciferase construct. We also test the modularity of the design by replacing the output with other cellular functional genes including hBAX, p21 and E-cadherin. The circuits effectively inhibit bladder cancer cell growth, induce apoptosis and decrease cell motility by regulating the corresponding gene. This approach provides a synthetic biology platform for targeting and controlling bladder cancer cells in vitro.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / genetics
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems / physiology*
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / physiology*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Luciferases, Renilla / genetics
  • Luciferases, Renilla / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Telomerase / genetics
  • Telomerase / physiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / genetics
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Uroplakin II / genetics
  • Uroplakin II / physiology
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / genetics
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / physiology


  • Cadherins
  • UPK2 protein, human
  • Uroplakin II
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Luciferases, Renilla
  • TERT protein, human
  • Telomerase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/KM668221