Synthetic Biology

Tuning down an overactive thyroid

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Science  19 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6275, pp. 828-829
DOI: 10.1126/science.351.6275.828-d

Overproduction of thyroid hormone is the hallmark of Graves' disease. Therapy is limited to suppression of thyroid hormone (which shows a high relapse rate) or destruction/removal of the thyroid gland. Saxena et al., have created a synthetic gene network that can sense and respond to abnormally high thyroid hormone levels. The circuit contained a thyroid hormone-sensing receptor fused to the DNA binding domain of yeast Gal4 and reversibly induced expression of a thyroid hormone receptor antagonist. This antagonist competed with thyroid-stimulating hormone and autoantibodies that cause abnormal activity. When cells transgenic for the circuit were injected into a mouse model of Graves' disease, the regulation of thyroid hormone was improved.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073pnas.1514383113 (2016).

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