Higher-Order Cellular Information Processing with Synthetic RNA Devices

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Science  17 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5900, pp. 456-460
DOI: 10.1126/science.1160311

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The engineering of biological systems is anticipated to provide effective solutions to challenges that include energy and food production, environmental quality, and health and medicine. Our ability to transmit information to and from living systems, and to process and act on information inside cells, is critical to advancing the scale and complexity at which we can engineer, manipulate, and probe biological systems. We developed a general approach for assembling RNA devices that can execute higher-order cellular information processing operations from standard components. The engineered devices can function as logic gates (AND, NOR, NAND, or OR gates) and signal filters, and exhibit cooperativity. RNA devices process and transmit molecular inputs to targeted protein outputs, linking computation to gene expression and thus the potential to control cellular function.

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