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Spring 2012, 3/30/12

ACS Synthetic Biology

  1. Evan Mills, Xi Chen, Elizabeth Pham, Stanley Wong, and Kevin Truong et al (2011). Engineering a Photoactivated Caspase-7 for Rapid Induction of Apoptosis. ACS Synthetic Biology 2012 1.3:75-82. Link. Summary: Group from University of Toronto developed protein that causes rapid cell apotosis (cell death) of targeted cells.
  2. James A. Stapleton, Kei Endo, Yoshihiko Fujita, Karin Hayashi, Masahiro Takinoue, Hirohide Saito, and Tan Inoue et. al 2011. Feedback Control of Protein Expression in Mammalian Cells by Tunable Synthetic Translational Inhibition. ACS Synth. Biol., 2012 1.3:83-88. Link. Summary: Kyoto groups creates a synthetic switch using RNA/protein to control proteins of interest in mammalian cells.

FEBS Letters

  1. Kono H, Imanishi M, Negi S, Tatsutani K, Sakaeda Y, et al. (2012). Rational design of DNA sequence-specific zinc fingers. FEBS letters. 586: 918–923. Link. Summary: Sugiura's group from Kyoto, Japan mutated zinc finger DNA binding domains to increase binding affinity.

Frontiers in Microbiotechnology

  1. None

Journal of Biological Engineering

  1. Joshua T Kittleson, Sherine Cheung, and J Christopher Anderson, Rapid optimization of gene dosage in E. coli using DIAL strains. Journal of Biological Engineering. ,2011 Link. Summary: In an attempt to simplify the tuning process of synthetically created E. coli the author has created a system to test multiple copy numbers.
  2. Lorenzo Pasotti1, Susanna Zucca1, Manuel Lupotto, Maria Gabriella Cusella De Angelis and Paolo Magni, Characterization of a synthetic bacterial selfdestruction device for programmed cell death and for recombinant proteins release. Journal of Biological Engineering. ,2011 Link. Summary: This paper characterizes the destructive properties of the BioBrick BBa_K112808.
  3. Michael A Speer and Tom L Richard, Amplified insert assembly: an optimized approach to standard assembly of BioBrickTM genetic circuits. , 2011. Link. Summary: A new system of assembling BioBricks using primers and PCR.

Journal of Cell Biology

  1. Yejing Ge, Yuting Sun, and J. Chencorresponding, IGF-II is regulated by microRNA-125b in skeletal myogenesis. J Cell Biol. , 2011. 192(1): p. 69-81. Summary: IGF-II (insulin-like growth factor 2), a critical regulator of skeletal myogenesis, as a direct and major target of miR-125b in both myocytes and regenerating muscles, This article revealing for the first time an miRNA mechanism controlling IGF-II expression.
  2. Suzanne Hoppins, et al., A mitochondrial-focused genetic interaction map reveals a scaffold-like complex required for inner membrane organization in mitochondria. J. Cell Biol., 2011. 195(2): p. 323–340. Summary: They constructed a quantitative, high-density genetic interaction map in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to explore mitochondrial structure and function as well as the communication of mitochondria with other cellular pathways.
  3. Haynes, K.A. and P.A. Silver, Eukaryotic systems broaden the scope of synthetic biology. J. Cell Biol., 2009. 187(5): p. 589–596.Summary: This review surveys recent advances in eukaryotic synthetic biology and describes how synthetic systems can be linked to natural cellular processes in order to manipulate cell behavior and to foster new discoveries in cell biology research.

Molecular Biology of the Cell

  1. None

Molecular and Cellular Biology

  1. Xiangzhi Li, Kyo ichi Isono, Daisuke Yamada, Takaho A. Endo, et al. Mammalian polycomb-like pcl2/mtf2 is a novel regulatory component of prc2 that can differentially modulate polycomb activity both at the hox gene cluster and at cdkn2a genes. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 31(2):351–364, January 2011. Summary: Elucidate the differential role Pcl2 plays in the Polycomb repressive complex-1 and 2 with respect to the Hox gene cluster and Cdkn2a genes.
  2. Nianwei Lin, Xingguo Li, Kairong Cui, Louri Chepelev, et al. A barrier-only boundary element delimits the formation of facultative heterochromatin in drosophila melanogaster and vertebrates. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 31(13):2729–2741, July 2011. Summary: Characterize the role chromatin barriers with regard to gene expression of the irradiation-responsive enhancer region which is under silencing control via H3K27me3.


  1. Dana GV, Kuiken T, Rejeski D, Snow A. (2012). Four steps to avoid a synthetic-biology disaster. Nature. 483: 29. Link. Summary: A group from the Synthetic Biology project at the Woodrow Wilson Institute suggests four key areas for testing and determining the safety of synthetic organisms.

Nature Biotechnology

  1. Yizhi Cai & Jef D Boeke, Genome remodeling. , 2011. Link. Summary: Alter the stop codon of E. coli.

PLoS Biology

  1. Levine JH, Fontes ME., Dworkin J, Elowitz, MB (2012). Pulsed feedback defers cellular differentiation. PLoS Biology, 10(1) Link. Summary: The Elowitz lab from Cal Tech reports a mechanism underlying a biological timer in bacteria (Bacillus subtilis).
  2. Nishida K, Silver PA. (2012). Induction of biogenic magnetization and redox control by a component of the target of rapamycin complex 1 signaling pathway. PLoS Biology. 10(2) Link. Summary: The Silver lab from Harvard reports genetic manipulation of yeast to make it accumulate more magnetic iron (Fe3+) and display enhanced magnetic properties. There's a very good blog article on this project at the Scientific American.


  1. Callura, J.M., Cantor, C.R. & Collins, J.J. Genetic switchboard for synthetic biology applications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2012).doi:10.1073/pnas.1203808109. Summary: RNA activators and repressors work in parallel to activate or repress gene expression in response to multiple specific inputs.


  1. Markus Schmidt and Lei Pei et al (2010) Synthetic Toxicology: Where Engineering Meets Biology and Toxicology. Science/ Toxicol. Sciences 120:204-224 Link. Summary: Analyzes the implications of synthetic biology on toxicology.

Systems and Synthetic Biology

  1. None