Applications and limitations of regulatory RNA elements in synthetic biology and biotechnology

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Nshogozabahizi, J. C.
Aubrey, K. L.
Ross, J. A.
Thakor, Nehal
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Synthetic biology requires the design and implementation of novel enzymes, genetic circuits or even entire cells, which can be controlled by the user. RNA‐based regulatory elements have many important functional properties in this regard, such as their modular nature and their ability to respond to specific external stimuli. These properties have led to the widespread exploration of their use as gene regulation devices in synthetic biology. In this review, we focus on two major types of RNA elements: riboswitches and RNA thermometers (RNATs). We describe their general structure and function, before discussing their potential uses in synthetic biology (e.g. in the production of biofuels and biodegradable plastics). We also discuss their limitations, and novel strategies to implement RNA‐based regulatory devices in biotechnological applications. We close with a description of some common model organisms used in synthetic biology, with a focus on the current applications and limitations of RNA‐based regulation.
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Biotechnology , Cyanophyta , Ralstonia sp. , Riboswitches , RNA elements , RNA thermometers (RNATs) , Synthetic biology
Nshogozabahizi, J. C., Aubrey, K. L., Ross, J. A., & Thakor, N. (2019). Applications and limitations of regulatory RNA elements in synthetic biology and biotechnology. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 127(4), 968-984.