Synthetic biology is largely based on transcriptional circuitry, in which promoters, terminators and transcription factor sites are utilized to build devices and modules. However, biocircuitry can also be engineered using RNA and/or protein components involved in posttranscriptional steps of gene expression. For example, messenger RNA translation can be modulated by targeting the 5’-untranslated region using RNA-binding proteins, aptamers or aptazymes, whereby degrons or small ligands can feature in the mechanisms used for regulation. Moreover, an even greater range of protein structural and functional properties can also potentially be harnessed for use in engineered regulatory systems.
Realization of the full potential of these new directions for synthetic biology will require both further system development and a concerted effort to improve standardization. This review by Dr. John McCarthy examines the directions in which posttranscriptional circuitry is being developed, the dynamic properties of the resulting systems, and their potential applications, both now and in the future. In addition, the role of standardisation in the posttranscriptional context is considered. Standardisation will have to become an integral part of the process of construction of posttranscriptional circuitry if key attributes such as composability, robustness, scalability, stochasticity and orthogonality are to be optimised, and properties such as retroactivity and off-target component activity are to be controlled.
Access que full review here.