PI: Dr. Eric Klavins
Location: UW Electrical Engineering
Modular Transcription Factors
The construction of synthetic gene networks in eukaryotic cells is limited by the relatively small number of repurposed transcription factors available. Furthermore, repurposed transcription factors taken out of context often display a variety of off-target effects when incorporated into novel gene circuits, resulting in poor circuit performance. The goal of this project is to develop a modular library of synthetic transcription factors that include addressable DNA binding domains, activation and/or repression domains, and small molecular signaling domains, as well as the promoters the act upon, that can be reliably wired into large synthetic networks with well-understood interactions. Transcription factors will be evaluated based on a variety of metrics including basal activity, leak, fold change on induction, and cooperativity. The resulting library will be tested in synthetic networks consisting of tens of interacting transcription factors that perform complex functions. The starting point for the project will be with CRISPR based transcription factors combined with the Klavins Lab’s recent work on plant hormone signaling pathways ported to yeast and other cells.