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Sep 03, 2015
Biophysical Journal
The regulation of gene expression, triggered by conformational changes in RNA molecules, is widely observed in cellular systems. Here, we examine this mode of control by means of a model-based design and construction of a fully synthetic riboregulatory device. We present a theoretical framework that rests on a simple energy model to predict the dynamic response of such a system. Following an equilibrium description, our framework integrates thermodynamic properties-anticipated with an RNA physicochemical model-with a detailed description of the intermolecular interaction. The theoretical calculations are confirmed with an experimental characterization of the action of the riboregulatory device within living cells. This illustrates, more broadly, the predictability of genetic robustness on synthetic systems, and the faculty to engineer gene expression programs from a minimal set of first principles. Copyright © 2015 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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