APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Combined use with contemporary gene editing technologies for high precision gene expression
- Utilization of novel transcription factor effector domain activators to regulate gene expression in multiple hosts including plants and microbes
- Method of metabolic and genome engineering using underutilized transcription factor effector domains in genetic engineering and protein expression
- Effective in plants, fungi and potentially other microbial systems
- First comprehensive gene regulatory network (GRN) with a higher resolution
- Transcription factors regulate gene expression through mechanisms poorly understood, hampering investigation of the intrinsic dimension of gene regulatory networks (GRNs). There is a need to expand knowledge of effector domains that control rates of transcription in eukaryotes.
JBEI researchers have developed a toolbox of plant transcriptional effectors that enable a wide range of up- and down-regulation of gene expression in plants; this system can be easily translated into different expression systems and fusion proteins.
Researchers characterized the putative effector domains of over 400 plant transcription factors to reveal the dynamics of gene regulatory networks and pinpoint novel targets for engineering. The discovery of new sets of effector domains provides insight into both the biochemical basis of plant transcriptional regulation and the convergence of broader network motifs. The characterization led to a dCas-9 effector fusion that outperformed viral activator VP16 when tested. Integration of effector information also led to the first gene regulatory network with verified transcription factor effector activity- and DNA binding data, with the effects on target genes observable in a temporal RNA-seq dataset, adding a new level of resolution to GRNs. Plant transcription factors showed comparable activity within S. cerevisiae, a fungus, revealing potential applications for a vast array of eukaryotes.
JBEI is looking for an industry partner that will collaborate with researchers to engineer transcriptional systems with effector domains in plants, fungi, and other eukaryotic organisms.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
STATUS: Patent pending.
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OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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