Hot off the press: understanding ribosome allocation in cells using a minimal model

April 25, 2016

The battle over bacterial resources is coming to an end, thanks to research from the University of Bristol. The study describes a new way to model productivity in bacteria used as mini-factories to produce valuable biological components such as insulin or new man-designed proteins.

Cells contain a finite set of resources that must be distributed across many processes with the largest proportion dedicated to protein translation. Synthetic biology often exploits these resources in executing orthogonal genetic circuits, yet the burden this places on the cell is rarely considered. In this work we develop a minimal model that enables us to describe the trade-offs made between endogenous and synthetic genes. We show that simple rules can accurately predict the response of cells, making this model a powerful tool for optimising the efficiency of synthetic gene expression. See the full press release here and the ACS Synthetic Biology paper here.