Papers of the Week 5th February 2018

Welcome to our pick of papers and articles from last week. These are a collection of the synthetic biology papers that have captured our attention and that we think you should know about. Maybe you’ve seen some others you’d like to tell us about. Send us a comment or tweet us at @synbiobydesign. See last week’s papers here.

Tool for pathway design

Previously released on bioRxiv in September 2017, this bioinformatics paper has been published this week in a peer-reviewed journal. This tool has been designed to enable the assembly of functional metabolic pathways with a specific product goal e.g. pharmaceuticals and biomaterials. Selenzyme uses a massive variety of data including phylogenetic distance between native organism and potential host organisms, sequence similarity and solubility/membrane regions in order to automate the selection of pathway components.

Programming gene and engineered-cell therapies with synthetic biology. From:

Synthetic biology in therapeutics

Synthetic gene networks have long been a pillar of synthetic biology due to their ability to be manipulated and controlled relatively predictably. This paper talks about the possibility of programmable, engineered gene circuits to regulate therapeutic activity through dosage, localisation and timing of gene expression. Sounds a lot like personalised medicine is being realised, as discussed in our post on synbio in personalised medicine!

DNA-mediated superlattice assembly

This is a similar paper to one mentioned last week about using DNA origami in lithography, however, this paper focuses on the application of these assemblies in studying the behaviour of light in nanoparticle-based optical materials. Gold nanoparticles were attached to DNA and were assembled into reconfigurable shapes using sticky ends of the DNA. The shapes and sizes of each colloid was controlled by “locked” nucleic acids and the confined spaces within the polymer scaffold.

Programmable assembly of reconfigurable nanoparticle (NP) architectures. From:



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