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. 2018 Apr;36(4):352-358.
doi: 10.1038/nbt.4111. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

Engineered Promoters Enable Constant Gene Expression at Any Copy Number in Bacteria


Engineered Promoters Enable Constant Gene Expression at Any Copy Number in Bacteria

Thomas H Segall-Shapiro et al. Nat Biotechnol. .


The internal environment of growing cells is variable and dynamic, making it difficult to introduce reliable parts, such as promoters, for genetic engineering. Here, we applied control-theoretic ideas to design promoters that maintained constant levels of expression at any copy number. Theory predicts that independence to copy number can be achieved by using an incoherent feedforward loop (iFFL) if the negative regulation is perfectly non-cooperative. We engineered iFFLs into Escherichia coli promoters using transcription-activator-like effectors (TALEs). These promoters had near-identical expression in different genome locations and plasmids, even when their copy number was perturbed by genomic mutations or changes in growth medium composition. We applied the stabilized promoters to show that a three-gene metabolic pathway to produce deoxychromoviridans could retain function without re-tuning when the stabilized-promoter-driven genes were moved from a plasmid into the genome.

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