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      A universal RNAi-based logic evaluator that operates in mammalian cells

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          Abstract

          Molecular automata that combine sensing, computation and actuation enable programmable manipulation of biological systems. We use RNA interference (RNAi) in human kidney cells to construct a molecular computing core that implements general Boolean logic to make decisions based on endogenous molecular inputs. The state of an endogenous input is encoded by the presence or absence of 'mediator' small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). The encoding rules, combined with a specific arrangement of the siRNA targets in a synthetic gene network, allow direct evaluation of any Boolean expression in standard forms using siRNAs and indirect evaluation using endogenous inputs. We demonstrate direct evaluation of expressions with up to five logic variables. Implementation of the encoding rules through sensory up- and down-regulatory links between the inputs and siRNA mediators will allow arbitrary Boolean decision-making using these inputs.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Specificity of microRNA target selection in translational repression.

           P. Sharp,  John Doench (2004)
          MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of noncoding RNAs found in organisms as evolutionarily distant as plants and mammals, yet most of the mRNAs they regulate are unknown. Here we show that the ability of an miRNA to translationally repress a target mRNA is largely dictated by the free energy of binding of the first eight nucleotides in the 5' region of the miRNA. However, G:U wobble base-pairing in this region interferes with activity beyond that predicted on the basis of thermodynamic stability. Furthermore, an mRNA can be simultaneously repressed by more than one miRNA species. The level of repression achieved is dependent on both the amount of mRNA and the amount of available miRNA complexes. Thus, predicted miRNA:mRNA interactions must be viewed in the context of other potential interactions and cellular conditions.
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            Enzyme-free nucleic acid logic circuits.

            Biological organisms perform complex information processing and control tasks using sophisticated biochemical circuits, yet the engineering of such circuits remains ineffective compared with that of electronic circuits. To systematically create complex yet reliable circuits, electrical engineers use digital logic, wherein gates and subcircuits are composed modularly and signal restoration prevents signal degradation. We report the design and experimental implementation of DNA-based digital logic circuits. We demonstrate AND, OR, and NOT gates, signal restoration, amplification, feedback, and cascading. Gate design and circuit construction is modular. The gates use single-stranded nucleic acids as inputs and outputs, and the mechanism relies exclusively on sequence recognition and strand displacement. Biological nucleic acids such as microRNAs can serve as inputs, suggesting applications in biotechnology and bioengineering.
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              On schemes of combinatorial transcription logic.

              Cells receive a wide variety of cellular and environmental signals, which are often processed combinatorially to generate specific genetic responses. Here we explore theoretically the potentials and limitations of combinatorial signal integration at the level of cis-regulatory transcription control. Our analysis suggests that many complex transcription-control functions of the type encountered in higher eukaryotes are already implementable within the much simpler bacterial transcription system. Using a quantitative model of bacterial transcription and invoking only specific protein-DNA interaction and weak glue-like interaction between regulatory proteins, we show explicit schemes to implement regulatory logic functions of increasing complexity by appropriately selecting the strengths and arranging the relative positions of the relevant protein-binding DNA sequences in the cis-regulatory region. The architectures that emerge are naturally modular and evolvable. Our results suggest that the transcription regulatory apparatus is a "programmable" computing machine, belonging formally to the class of Boltzmann machines. Crucial to our results is the ability to regulate gene expression at a distance. In bacteria, this can be achieved for isolated genes via DNA looping controlled by the dimerization of DNA-bound proteins. However, if adopted extensively in the genome, long-distance interaction can cause unintentional intergenic cross talk, a detrimental side effect difficult to overcome by the known bacterial transcription-regulation systems. This may be a key factor limiting the genome-wide adoption of complex transcription control in bacteria. Implications of our findings for combinatorial transcription control in eukaryotes are discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Biotechnology
                Nat Biotechnol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1087-0156
                1546-1696
                July 2007
                May 21 2007
                July 2007
                : 25
                : 7
                : 795-801
                Article
                10.1038/nbt1307
                17515909
                © 2007

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