Julius has a new paper in Nature Chemical Biology on rationally designing orthogonal RNA translational regulators

Another fine piece of work done while Julius was a Miller Fellow in the Arkin Lab RNA SynBio group. In this paper, we show how to use computational methods to uncover key determinants of RNA-RNA interaction specificity in a trans-acting RNA mechanism that regulates translation (the RNA-IN/OUT system from transposon IS10). We developed these models from in vivo expression data for for a large library of mutants, and then use the computational model to to forward design additional orthogonally-acting pairs. The significance of this work is in developing the systematic methodology to uncover key design principles for engineering RNA-RNA interaction specificity, and for developing a nice parts set that can be used for optimizing gene expression in a variety of contexts. The hat really goes off to Vivek Mutalik, Stanley Qi and Joao Guimaraes who pioneered this work!

The article can be found here –http://www.nature.com/nchembio/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/nchembio.919.html.

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