Regulatory networks utilizing protein-protein interactions

In nature, cells respond to diverse stimuli over multiple length and time scales, but most synthetic gene circuits thus far have been limited to transcriptional regulation. We develop tools for Synthetic Biology to construct genetic circuits that encode synthetic protein cascades which enable multi-input information processing and actuation of cellular responses over multiple time-scales.

We create synthetic MAP-Kinase cascades in Saccharomyces cerevisae to facilitate signal processing and decoding. They operate orders of magnitude faster than transcriptional control. Although protein-driven networks are ubiquitous in nature, their rational design continues to be ad hoc. We are developing principles rooted in electrical engineering and control theory to guide network design and construction.

We are connecting our information processing circuit with both sensing and readout modules to create biological/chemical sensing devices. These devices will enable us to monitor physiological metabolites and chemical agents with ease and specificity that traditional non-biological devices do not allow.

We are also interested in developing an understanding of biological networks. Constructing these simple but phenotypically complex synthetic networks creates a model system that can be easily perturbed to elucidate how phenomenon such as ultrasensitivity and signal amplification arise from individual component connectivity.

People: Deepak Mishra