Escherichia coli “Marionette” strains with 12 highly optimized small-molecule sensors

Adam J. Meyer, Thomas H. Segall-Shapiro, Emerson Glassey, Jing Zhang, Christopher A. Voigt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cellular processes are carried out by many genes, and their study and optimization requires multiple levers by which they can be independently controlled. The most common method is via a genetically encoded sensor that responds to a small molecule. However, these sensors are often suboptimal, exhibiting high background expression and low dynamic range. Further, using multiple sensors in one cell is limited by cross-talk and the taxing of cellular resources. Here, we have developed a directed evolution strategy to simultaneously select for lower background, high dynamic range, increased sensitivity, and low cross-talk. This is applied to generate a set of 12 high-performance sensors that exhibit >100-fold induction with low background and cross-reactivity. These are combined to build a single “sensor array” in the genomes of E. coli MG1655 (wild-type), DH10B (cloning), and BL21 (protein expression). These “Marionette” strains allow for the independent control of gene expression using 12 small-molecule inducers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-204
Number of pages9
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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