Synthetic biology

The BioPSEg carries out research in Synthetic Biology with particular emphasis on the following areas of activity:

Synthetic biology approaches for engineering new pathways, functions and organisms

Strategies for engineering new pathways in model organisms using Synthetic Biology approaches are being pursued. The main purpose is to obtain organisms with new and/or improved functions towards the production of added value products (e.g. curcumin, butanol and amino acids). These approaches involve the use of modular genetic parts to design and engineer regulatory circuits to control gene expression in response to intracellular metabolic states for the improved production of a given compound in model organisms. Also, several modeling and engineering steps are being used to program organisms to execute new synthetic pathways for the production of interest compounds triggered by external stimulus (e.g. temperature).

Synthetic biology sensors

New synthetic riboswitches are being engineered by using SELEX (Systemic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential enrichment method) to pick aptamers that enable the identification of target molecules (e.g. osteopontin, theophylline). The synthetic metabolite-binding riboswitches composed of two domains (aptamer and antisense) bind to specific target molecules and can regulate gene transcription and translation. Foreseen applications of synthetic riboswitches include regulation of gene expression and new biosensors.