Mammalian synthetic biology: emerging medical applications

J R Soc Interface. 2015 May 6;12(106):20141000. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1000.


In this review, we discuss new emerging medical applications of the rapidly evolving field of mammalian synthetic biology. We start with simple mammalian synthetic biological components and move towards more complex and therapy-oriented gene circuits. A comprehensive list of ON-OFF switches, categorized into transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational and post-translational, is presented in the first sections. Subsequently, Boolean logic gates, synthetic mammalian oscillators and toggle switches will be described. Several synthetic gene networks are further reviewed in the medical applications section, including cancer therapy gene circuits, immuno-regulatory networks, among others. The final sections focus on the applicability of synthetic gene networks to drug discovery, drug delivery, receptor-activating gene circuits and mammalian biomanufacturing processes.

Keywords: gene therapy; mammalian cells; synthetic biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biotechnology / trends*
  • Drug Delivery Systems / trends*
  • Drug Discovery / trends*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics*
  • Genes, Synthetic / genetics*
  • Mammals
  • Synthetic Biology / trends*