A computational pipeline for identifying kinetic motifs to aid in the design and improvement of synthetic gene circuits.

Research paper by Austin W T AW Chiang, Ming-Jing MJ Hwang

Indexed on: 26 Feb '14Published on: 26 Feb '14Published in: BMC Bioinformatics


An increasing number of genetic components are available in several depositories of such components to facilitate synthetic biology research, but picking out those that will allow a designed circuit to achieve the specified function still requires multiple cycles of testing. Here, we addressed this problem by developing a computational pipeline to mathematically simulate a gene circuit for a comprehensive range and combination of the kinetic parameters of the biological components that constitute the gene circuit.We showed that, using a well-studied transcriptional repression cascade as an example, the sets of kinetic parameters that could produce the specified system dynamics of the gene circuit formed clusters of recurrent combinations, referred to as kinetic motifs, which appear to be associated with both the specific topology and specified dynamics of the circuit. Furthermore, the use of the resulting "handbook" of performance-ranked kinetic motifs in finding suitable circuit components was illustrated in two application scenarios.These results show that the computational pipeline developed here can provide a rational-based guide to aid in the design and improvement of synthetic gene circuits.