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Self-assembly of synthetic nuclei: key modules for semibiotic chemosynthetic systems


NEONUCLEI will develop transcription-competent synthetic analogues of cell nuclei. These particles, termed neonuclei, will be obtained through self-assembly/organisation in mixtures of DNA, macromolecules (or nanoparticles), and lipids. The composition o f the neonuclei will be chosen to produce particles with internal nano-architectures capable of sustaining gene transcription upon the addition of transcription factors. These design of the static architectures of the neonuclei and their dynamic propert ies will be guided by observations on real nuclei. The DNA of the neonuclei will contain a gene cluster (or tandem repeats of the same gene). The genes will be separated by sequences designed to induce DNA compaction in response to specific chemical or p hysical stimuli. This will be exploited to establish non-biological control over the transcription of parts, or all, of the DNA. These control sequences offer the opportunity for multiple transcription control strategies and provide the capability of im plementing temporally co-ordinated synthesis of multiple gene products. Neonuclei represent a key enabling step in the realisation of semi-biotic systems; these are systems and devices that combine synthetic non-natural functional systems with systems o f biological origin. The neonuclei will be integrated with biological systems, or with isolated components, to produce novel semi-biotic devices capable of the controlled in situ synthesis of complex bio-molecules on demand.

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University road, highfield
United Kingdom

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Participants (4)