University of California, Riverside
Oscillators, nature’s biological clocks, have important applications ranging from maintaining a circadian rhythm to regulating hormonal levels. We are constructing a synthetic in vitro oscillatory network. In vitro oscillators have been constructed in the past; however, our system is the first to utilize RNA aptamers that allow for a simpler, yet robust oscillator. Our theoretical model for this oscillatory scheme shows that it is capable of having robust oscillations. On the experimental front, we have shown that our RNA polymerase enzymes can be inhibited and reactivated by the binding and removal of the aptamers respectively. This would be an important step towards our goal of experimentally validating the oscillatory scheme. We hope that the simplicity of our system allows it to be easily built upon, thus, paving the way for a new set of biological circuits and this would introduce RNA aptamers as a powerful tool for programmable, synthetic circuits.
RNA Clocks and Switches
A Synthetic Oscillatory System