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Development of Novel Riboswitches for Synthetic Biology in the Green Alga Chlamydomonas.

  • Mehrshahi, Payam
  • Nguyen, Ginnie Trinh DT
  • Gorchs Rovira, Aleix
  • Sayer, Andrew
  • Llavero-Pasquina, Marcel
  • Lim Huei Sin, Michelle
  • Medcalf, Elliot J
  • Mendoza-Ochoa, Gonzalo I
  • Scaife, Mark A
  • Smith, Alison
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2020
Apollo - University of Cambridge Repository
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Riboswitches are RNA regulatory elements that bind specific ligands to control gene expression. Because of their modular composition, where a ligand-sensing aptamer domain is combined with an expression platform, riboswitches offer unique tools for synthetic biology applications. Here we took a mutational approach to determine functionally important nucleotide residues in the thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) riboswitch in the THI4 gene of the model alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, allowing us to carry out aptamer swap using THIC aptamers from Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis thaliana. These chimeric riboswitches displayed a distinct specificity and dynamic range of responses to different ligands. Our studies demonstrate ease of assembly as 5’UTR DNA parts, predictability of output, and utility for controlled production of a high-value compound in Chlamydomonas. The simplicity of riboswitch incorporation in current design platforms will facilitate generation of genetic circuits to advance synthetic biology and metabolic engineering of microalgae. / BBSRC

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