Improved modular multipart DNA assembly, development of a DNA part toolkit for E. coli, and applications in traditional biology and bioelectronic systems
Iverson, Sonya Victoria
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DNA assembly and rational design are cornerstones of synthetic biology. While many DNA assembly standards have been published in recent years, only the Modular Cloning standard, or MoClo, has the advantage of publicly available part libraries for use in plant, yeast, and mammalian systems. No multipart modular library has previously been developed for use in prokaryotes. Building upon the existing MoClo assembly framework, we developed a collection of DNA parts and optimized MoClo protocols for use in E. coli. We present this assembly standard and library along with part characterization, design strategies, potential applications, and troubleshooting. Developed as part of the Cross-disciplinary Integration of Design Automation Research (CIDAR) lab collection of tools, the CIDAR MoClo Library is publicly available and contains promoters, ribosomal binding sites, coding sequences, terminators, vectors, and a set of fluorescent control plasmids. Optimized protocols reduce reaction time and cost by >80% from previously published protocols. The CIDAR MoClo Library is the first bacterial DNA part library compatible with a multipart assembly standard. To demonstrate the utility of the CIDAR MoClo system in a traditional biology context, we used the library and previous expression data to create a series of dual expression plasmids. In this manner, we produced a dual expression plasmid capable of expressing equimolar amounts of two variants of rabbit aldolase, a His-tagged wildtype protein and a single-amino-acid substitution mutant deficient in binding actin. This expression plasmid will enable the production of dimer-of-dimer heterotetramers needed for structural determination of the actin-aldolase interaction by electron microscopy. To employ CIDAR MoClo in a synthetic biology context, we produced a bioelectronic pH-mediated genetic logic gate with DNA circuits built using MoClo and integrated with Raspberry Pi computers, Twitter, and 3D printed components. Logic gates are an increasingly common biological tool with applications in cellular memory and biological computation. MoClo facilitates rapid iteration of genetic designs, better enabling the development of cellular logic. The CIDAR MoClo Library and assembly standard enable rapid design-build-test cycles in E. coli making this system advantageous for use in many areas of synthetic biology as well as traditional biological research.
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