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Reprogramming plants: Building gene circuits to alter plant function

Tuesday 18 October 2022, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr James Lloyd, Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, University of Western Australia

Plant biotechnology predominantly relies on a restricted set of genetic parts with limited capability to customize spatiotemporal and conditional expression patterns. Synthetic gene circuits have the potential to integrate multiple customizable input signals through a processing unit constructed from biological parts to produce a predictable and programmable output. Here I present a set of functional recombinase-based gene circuits for use in plants. We developed a range of operational logic gates using the identify function (activation) and negation function (repression) in Arabidopsis protoplasts and in vivo, demonstrating their utility for programmable manipulation of transcriptional activity in a complex multicellular organism. Specifically, using recombinases and plant control elements, we activated transgenes in YES, OR and AND gates and repressed them in NOT, NOR and NAND gates; we also implemented the A NIMPLY B gate that combines activation and repression. This highly compact programmable gene circuit platform provides new capabilities for engineering sophisticated transcriptional programs and previously unrealized traits into plants.

Location: Online seminar (via Zoom)