04 Nov – Talk by Mario Mörl

As a joint seminar with the Institute for Molecular Biology, Prof. Mario Mörl, Universität Leipzig, gives a talk titled “Synthetic Riboswitches – Playing Lego with RNA Domains“.

Tuesday, 04/11/14 at 5:15 pm
Campus Riedberg, Biozentrum N260/3.13


Riboswitches are RNA-based regulators of gene expression composed of a ligand-sensing aptamer domain followed by an overlapping expression platform. This regulation occurs at either the level of transcription (by formation of terminator or antiterminator structures) or translation (by presentation or sequestering of the ribosomal binding site). Due to a modular composition, these elements can be manipulated and therefore represent useful tools to regulate gene expression in synthetic biology. While riboswitches for translational control have been designed successfully, attempts to construct synthetic elements regulating transcription have failed so far. Using the theophylline-aptamer as sensor, we designed the expression platform as RNA sequences that can fold into functional intrinsic terminator structures. Optimization of these terminator elements enhance the response ratio of the transcriptional riboswitches to the presence of a specific ligand. Furthermore, combination of several copies of individual riboswitches leads to a much improved activation ratio and to a linear dose-dependent response in reporter gene expression. Such synthetic riboswitches (as single elements or in serial arrangements) represent new regulatory elements for synthetic biology and can be used as efficient and fast-responding read-out systems.