Revision as of 21:13, 17 October 2014 by Waqar (Talk | contribs)

Project Specific Changes

As part of the project we looked to spread synthetic biology throughout the community. We approached this feat through several different avenues.

Our project came into fruition after extensive debate and discussion, the idea of introducing a mechanism by which RNA can be propagated is both conceptually and theoretically appealing. Using our replicon system to target production of a siRNA directed against a target (DPP-IV) shows just one of many applications that our system holds. Initially, it was not so straight forward when considering additional elements that we might require – for safety of the system was not on our minds. However, after due deliberation we decided to embark and ask questions and most importantly, seek answers. We started small and simple, with the obvious question on how people perceive our system? We decided to conduct a Q + A session, in which academics, students and the wider public were in attendance. Whilst lost of interesting questions were asked, we collectively became stuck when faced with the following question:

What have you done to ensure your system is safe?

Having reflected on this question, we realized that we failed to consider how our system would be safe - as one of the main applications of our system was to help treat Diabetes, we had to re-think and go back to the drawing board. We came up with two ideas which we feel will greatly improve the safety, but also the efficiency of our system


We decided to use a theophylline induced aptazyme, this essentially acts as a kill-switch if our system becomes unstable - it is possible to cleave our siRNA transcript and prevent our system from functioning. A general descriptor for the Aptazyme is below: An aptazyme is an RNA based switch that operates by ribozyme-mediated cleavage of RNA. This part derives from Hartig et al., 2002 and requires the addition of theophylline to induce hammerhead ribozyme activation and cleavage, as depicted in Figure 1a. The part sequence is modified to contain a stop codon at the end, as an RBS is present.