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Single-cell kinetics of a repressilator when implemented in a single-copy plasmid

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1939-1945
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Biosystems
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Synthetic genetic clocks, such as the Elowitz-Leibler repressilator, will be key regulatory components of future synthetic circuits. We constructed a single-copy repressilator (SCR) by implementing the original repressilator circuit on a single-copy F-plasmid. After verifying its functionality, we studied its behaviour as a function of temperature and compared it with that of the original low-copy-number repressilator (LCR). Namely, we compared the period of oscillations, functionality (the fraction of cells exhibiting oscillations) and robustness to internal fluctuations (the fraction of expected oscillations that would occur). We found that, under optimal temperature conditions, the dynamics of the two systems differs significantly, although qualitatively they respond similarly to temperature changes. Exception to this is in the functionality, in which the SCR is higher at lower temperatures but lower at higher temperatures. Next, by adding IPTG to the medium at low and high concentrations during microscopy sessions, we showed that the functionality of the SCR is more robust to external perturbations, which indicates that the oscillatory behaviour of the LCR can be disrupted by affecting only a few of the copies in a cell. We conclude that the SCR, the first functional, synthetic, single-copy, ring-type genetic clock, is more robust to lower temperatures and to external perturbations than the original LCR. The SCR will be of use in future synthetic circuits, since it complements the array of tasks that the LCR can perform.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland