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Multi-Input RNAi-Based Logic Circuit for Identification of Specific Cancer Cells

Science  02 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6047, pp. 1307-1311
DOI: 10.1126/science.1205527

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Abstract

Engineered biological systems that integrate multi-input sensing, sophisticated information processing, and precisely regulated actuation in living cells could be useful in a variety of applications. For example, anticancer therapies could be engineered to detect and respond to complex cellular conditions in individual cells with high specificity. Here, we show a scalable transcriptional/posttranscriptional synthetic regulatory circuit—a cell-type “classifier”—that senses expression levels of a customizable set of endogenous microRNAs and triggers a cellular response only if the expression levels match a predetermined profile of interest. We demonstrate that a HeLa cancer cell classifier selectively identifies HeLa cells and triggers apoptosis without affecting non-HeLa cell types. This approach also provides a general platform for programmed responses to other complex cell states.

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