Showing 1 - 25 of 106 results
C-terminal sequence stability profiling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae reveals protective protein quality control pathways.
Protein quality control (PQC) mechanisms are essential for degradation of misfolded or dysfunctional proteins. An essential part of protein homeostasis is recognition of defective proteins by PQC components and their elimination by the ubiquitin-proteasome system, often concentrating on protein termini as indicators of protein integrity. Changes in amino acid composition of C-terminal ends arise through protein disintegration, alternative splicing or during the translation step of protein synthesis from premature termination or translational stop-codon read-through. We characterized reporter protein stability using light-controlled exposure of random C-terminal peptides (CtPC) in budding yeast revealing stabilizing and destabilizing features of amino acids at positions -5 to -1 of the C-terminus. The (de)stabilization properties of CtPC-degrons depend on amino acid identity, position as well as composition of the C-terminal sequence and are transferable. Evolutionary pressure towards stable proteins in yeast is evidenced by amino acid residues under-represented in cytosolic and nuclear proteins at corresponding C-terminal positions, but over-represented in unstable CtPC-degrons, and vice versa. Furthermore, analysis of translational stop-codon read-through peptides suggested that such extended proteins have destabilizing C-termini. PQC pathways targeting CtPC-degrons involved the ubiquitin-protein ligase Doa10 and the cullin-RING E3 ligase (CRL) SCFDas1. Overall, our data suggest a proteome protection mechanism that targets proteins with unnatural C-termini by recognizing a surprisingly large number of C-terminal sequence variants.
High-Throughput Optogenetics Experiments in Yeast Using the Automated Platform Lustro.
Optogenetics offers precise control over cellular behavior by utilizing genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins. However, optimizing these systems to achieve the desired functionality often requires multiple design-build-test cycles, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. To address this challenge, we have developed Lustro, a platform that combines light stimulation with laboratory automation, enabling efficient high-throughput screening and characterization of optogenetic systems. Lustro utilizes an automation workstation equipped with an illumination device, a shaking device, and a plate reader. By employing a robotic arm, Lustro automates the movement of a microwell plate between these devices, allowing for the stimulation of optogenetic strains and the measurement of their response. This protocol provides a step-by-step guide on using Lustro to characterize optogenetic systems for gene expression control in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The protocol covers the setup of Lustro's components, including the integration of the illumination device with the automation workstation. It also provides detailed instructions for programming the illumination device, plate reader, and robot, ensuring smooth operation and data acquisition throughout the experimental process.
Lustro: High-Throughput Optogenetic Experiments Enabled by Automation and a Yeast Optogenetic Toolkit.
Optogenetic systems use genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins to control cellular processes. This provides the potential to orthogonally control cells with light; however, these systems require many design-build-test cycles to achieve a functional design and multiple illumination variables need to be laboriously tuned for optimal stimulation. We combine laboratory automation and a modular cloning scheme to enable high-throughput construction and characterization of optogenetic split transcription factors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We expand the yeast optogenetic toolkit to include variants of the cryptochromes and enhanced Magnets, incorporate these light-sensitive dimerizers into split transcription factors, and automate illumination and measurement of cultures in a 96-well microplate format for high-throughput characterization. We use this approach to rationally design and test an optimized enhanced Magnet transcription factor with improved light-sensitive gene expression. This approach is generalizable to the high-throughput characterization of optogenetic systems across a range of biological systems and applications.
Optogenetic control of Cdc48 for dynamic metabolic engineering in yeast.
Dynamic metabolic engineering is a strategy to switch key metabolic pathways in microbial cell factories from biomass generation to accumulation of target products. Here, we demonstrate that optogenetic intervention in the cell cycle of budding yeast can be used to increase production of valuable chemicals, such as the terpenoid β-carotene or the nucleoside analog cordycepin. We achieved optogenetic cell-cycle arrest in the G2/M phase by controlling activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome system hub Cdc48. To analyze the metabolic capacities in the cell cycle arrested yeast strain, we studied their proteomes by timsTOF mass spectrometry. This revealed widespread, but highly distinct abundance changes of metabolic key enzymes. Integration of the proteomics data in protein-constrained metabolic models demonstrated modulation of fluxes directly associated with terpenoid production as well as metabolic subsystems involved in protein biosynthesis, cell wall synthesis, and cofactor biosynthesis. These results demonstrate that optogenetically triggered cell cycle intervention is an option to increase the yields of compounds synthesized in a cellular factory by reallocation of metabolic resources.
Multidimensional characterization of inducible promoters and a highly light-sensitive LOV-transcription factor.
The ability to independently control the expression of different genes is important for quantitative biology. Using budding yeast, we characterize GAL1pr, GALL, MET3pr, CUP1pr, PHO5pr, tetOpr, terminator-tetOpr, Z3EV, blue-light inducible optogenetic systems El222-LIP, El222-GLIP, and red-light inducible PhyB-PIF3. We report kinetic parameters, noise scaling, impact on growth, and the fundamental leakiness of each system using an intuitive unit, maxGAL1. We uncover disadvantages of widely used tools, e.g., nonmonotonic activity of MET3pr and GALL, slow off kinetics of the doxycycline- and estradiol-inducible systems tetOpr and Z3EV, and high variability of PHO5pr and red-light activated PhyB-PIF3 system. We introduce two previously uncharacterized systems: strongLOV, a more light-sensitive El222 mutant, and ARG3pr, which is induced in the absence of arginine or presence of methionine. To demonstrate fine control over gene circuits, we experimentally tune the time between cell cycle Start and mitosis, artificially simulating near-wild-type timing. All strains, constructs, code, and data ( https://promoter-benchmark.epfl.ch/ ) are made available.
Optogenetic spatial patterning of cooperation in yeast populations.
Microbial communities are a siege of complex metabolic interactions such as cooperation and competition for resources. Methods to control such interactions could lead to major advances in our ability to engineer microbial consortia for bioproduction and synthetic biology applications. Here, we used optogenetics to control invertase production in yeast, thereby creating landscapes of cooperator and cheater cells. Yeast cells behave as cooperators (i.e., transform sucrose into glucose, a public “good”) upon blue light illumination or cheaters (i.e., consume glucose produced by cooperators to grow) in the dark. We show that cooperators benefit best from the hexoses they produce when their domain size is constrained between two cut-off length-scales. From an engineering point of view, the system behaves as a band pass filter. The lower limit is the trace of cheaters’ competition for hexoses, while the upper limit is defined by cooperators’ competition for sucrose. Hence, cooperation mostly occurs at the frontiers with cheater cells, which not only compete for hexoses but also cooperate passively by letting sucrose reach cooperators. We anticipate that this optogenetic method could be applied to shape metabolic interactions in a variety of microbial ecosystems.
Engineered allostery in light-regulated LOV-Turbo enables precise spatiotemporal control of proximity labeling in living cells.
The incorporation of light-responsive domains into engineered proteins has enabled control of protein localization, interactions and function with light. We integrated optogenetic control into proximity labeling, a cornerstone technique for high-resolution proteomic mapping of organelles and interactomes in living cells. Through structure-guided screening and directed evolution, we installed the light-sensitive LOV domain into the proximity labeling enzyme TurboID to rapidly and reversibly control its labeling activity with low-power blue light. 'LOV-Turbo' works in multiple contexts and dramatically reduces background in biotin-rich environments such as neurons. We used LOV-Turbo for pulse-chase labeling to discover proteins that traffic between endoplasmic reticulum, nuclear and mitochondrial compartments under cellular stress. We also showed that instead of external light, LOV-Turbo can be activated by bioluminescence resonance energy transfer from luciferase, enabling interaction-dependent proximity labeling. Overall, LOV-Turbo increases the spatial and temporal precision of proximity labeling, expanding the scope of experimental questions that can be addressed with proximity labeling.
Transcription factor localization dynamics and DNA binding drive distinct promoter interpretations.
Environmental information may be encoded in the temporal dynamics of transcription factor (TF) activation and subsequently decoded by gene promoters to enact stimulus-specific gene expression programs. Previous studies of this behavior focused on the encoding and decoding of information in TF nuclear localization dynamics, yet cells control the activity of TFs in myriad ways, including by regulating their ability to bind DNA. Here, we use light-controlled mutants of the yeast TF Msn2 as a model system to investigate how promoter decoding of TF localization dynamics is affected by changes in the ability of the TF to bind DNA. We find that yeast promoters directly decode the light-controlled localization dynamics of Msn2 and that the effects of changing Msn2 affinity on that decoding behavior are highly promoter dependent, illustrating how cells could regulate TF localization dynamics and DNA binding in concert for improved control of gene expression.
Controlling protein stability with SULI, a highly sensitive tag for stabilization upon light induction.
Optogenetics tools for precise temporal and spatial control of protein abundance are valuable in studying diverse complex biological processes. In the present study, we engineer a monomeric tag of stabilization upon light induction (SULI) for yeast and zebrafish based on a single light-oxygen-voltage domain from Neurospora crassa. Proteins of interest fused with SULI are stable upon light illumination but are readily degraded after transfer to dark conditions. SULI shows a high dynamic range and a high tolerance to fusion at different positions of the target protein. Further studies reveal that SULI-mediated degradation occurs through a lysine ubiquitination-independent proteasome pathway. We demonstrate the usefulness of SULI in controlling the cell cycle in yeast and regulating protein stability in zebrafish, respectively. Overall, our data indicate that SULI is a simple and robust tool to quantitatively and spatiotemporally modulate protein levels for biotechnological or biomedical applications.
PhiReX 2.0: A Programmable and Red Light-Regulated CRISPR-dCas9 System for the Activation of Endogenous Genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Metabolic engineering approaches do not exclusively require fine-tuning of heterologous genes but oftentimes also modulation or even induction of host gene expression, e.g., in order to rewire metabolic fluxes. Here, we introduce the programmable red light switch PhiReX 2.0, which can rewire metabolic fluxes by targeting endogenous promoter sequences through single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) and activate gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae upon red light stimulation. The split transcription factor is built from the plant-derived optical dimer PhyB and PIF3, which is fused to a DNA-binding domain based on the catalytically dead Cas9 protein (dCas9) and a transactivation domain. This design combines at least two major advantages: first, the sgRNAs, guiding dCas9 to the promoter of interest, can be exchanged in an efficient and straightforward Golden Gate-based cloning approach, which allows for rational or randomized combination of up to four sgRNAs in a single expression array. Second, target gene expression can be rapidly upregulated by short red light pulses in a light dose-dependent manner and returned to the native expression level by applying far-red light without interfering with the cell culture. Using the native yeast gene CYC1 as an example, we demonstrated that PhiReX 2.0 can upregulate CYC1 gene expression by up to 6-fold in a light intensity-dependent and reversible manner using a single sgRNA.
Optogenetic closed-loop feedback control of the unfolded protein response optimizes protein production.
In biotechnological protein production processes, the onset of protein unfolding at high gene expression levels leads to diminishing production yields and reduced efficiency. Here we show that in silico closed-loop optogenetic feedback control of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in S. cerevisiae clamps gene expression rates at intermediate near-optimal values, leading to significantly improved product titers. Specifically, in a fully-automated custom-built 1L-photobioreactor, we used a cybergenetic control system to steer the level of UPR in yeast to a desired set-point by optogenetically modulating the expression of α-amylase, a hard-to-fold protein, based on real-time feedback measurements of the UPR, resulting in 60% higher product titers. This proof-of-concept study paves the way for advanced optimal biotechnology production strategies that diverge from and complement current strategies employing constitutive overexpression or genetically hardwired circuits.
Engineering of bidirectional, cyanobacteriochrome-based light-inducible dimers (BICYCL)s.
Optogenetic tools for controlling protein-protein interactions (PPIs) have been developed from a small number of photosensory modules that respond to a limited selection of wavelengths. Cyanobacteriochrome (CBCR) GAF domain variants respond to an unmatched array of colors; however, their natural molecular mechanisms of action cannot easily be exploited for optogenetic control of PPIs. Here we developed bidirectional, cyanobacteriochrome-based light-inducible dimers (BICYCL)s by engineering synthetic light-dependent interactors for a red/green GAF domain. The systematic approach enables the future engineering of the broad chromatic palette of CBCRs for optogenetics use. BICYCLs are among the smallest optogenetic tools for controlling PPIs and enable either green-ON/red-OFF (BICYCL-Red) or red-ON/green-OFF (BICYCL-Green) control with up to 800-fold state selectivity. The access to green wavelengths creates new opportunities for multiplexing with existing tools. We demonstrate the utility of BICYCLs for controlling protein subcellular localization and transcriptional processes in mammalian cells and for multiplexing with existing blue-light tools.
Optogenetic control of beta-carotene bioproduction in yeast across multiple lab-scales.
Optogenetics arises as a valuable tool to precisely control genetic circuits in microbial cell factories. Light control holds the promise of optimizing bioproduction methods and maximizing yields, but its implementation at different steps of the strain development process and at different culture scales remains challenging. In this study, we aim to control beta-carotene bioproduction using optogenetics in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and investigate how its performance translates across culture scales. We built four lab-scale illumination devices, each handling different culture volumes, and each having specific illumination characteristics and cultivating conditions. We evaluated optogenetic activation and beta-carotene production across devices and optimized them both independently. Then, we combined optogenetic induction and beta-carotene production to make a light-inducible beta-carotene producer strain. This was achieved by placing the transcription of the bifunctional lycopene cyclase/phytoene synthase CrtYB under the control of the pC120 optogenetic promoter regulated by the EL222-VP16 light-activated transcription factor, while other carotenogenic enzymes (CrtI, CrtE, tHMG) were expressed constitutively. We show that illumination, culture volume and shaking impact differently optogenetic activation and beta-carotene production across devices. This enabled us to determine the best culture conditions to maximize light-induced beta-carotene production in each of the devices. Our study exemplifies the stakes of scaling up optogenetics in devices of different lab scales and sheds light on the interplays and potential conflicts between optogenetic control and metabolic pathway efficiency. As a general principle, we propose that it is important to first optimize both components of the system independently, before combining them into optogenetic producing strains to avoid extensive troubleshooting. We anticipate that our results can help designing both strains and devices that could eventually lead to larger scale systems in an effort to bring optogenetics to the industrial scale.
Coupling Cell Communication and Optogenetics: Implementation of a Light-Inducible Intercellular System in Yeast.
Cell communication is a widespread mechanism in biology, allowing the transmission of information about environmental conditions. In order to understand how cell communication modulates relevant biological processes such as survival, division, differentiation, and apoptosis, different synthetic systems based on chemical induction have been successfully developed. In this work, we coupled cell communication and optogenetics in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Our approach is based on two strains connected by the light-dependent production of α-factor pheromone in one cell type, which induces gene expression in the other type. After the individual characterization of the different variants of both strains, the optogenetic intercellular system was evaluated by combining the cells under contrasting illumination conditions. Using luciferase as a reporter gene, specific co-cultures at a 1:1 ratio displayed activation of the response upon constant blue light, which was not observed for the same cell mixtures grown in darkness. Then, the system was assessed at several dark/blue-light transitions, where the response level varies depending on the moment in which illumination was delivered. Furthermore, we observed that the amplitude of response can be tuned by modifying the initial ratio between both strains. Finally, the two-population system showed higher fold inductions in comparison with autonomous strains. Altogether, these results demonstrated that external light information is propagated through a diffusible signaling molecule to modulate gene expression in a synthetic system involving microbial cells, which will pave the road for studies allowing optogenetic control of population-level dynamics.
Expanding the molecular versatility of an optogenetic switch in yeast.
In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the FUN-LOV (FUNgal Light Oxygen and Voltage) optogenetic switch enables high levels of light-activated gene expression in a reversible and tunable fashion. The FUN-LOV components, under identical promoter and terminator sequences, are encoded in two different plasmids, which limits its future applications in wild and industrial yeast strains. In this work, we aim to expand the molecular versatility of the FUN-LOV switch to increase its biotechnological applications. Initially, we generated new variants of this system by replacing the promoter and terminator sequences and by cloning the system in a single plasmid (FUN-LOVSP). In a second step, we included the nourseothricin (Nat) or hygromycin (Hph) antibiotic resistances genes in the new FUN-LOVSP plasmid, generating two new variants (FUN-LOVSP-Nat and FUN-LOVSP-Hph), to allow selection after genome integration. Then, we compared the levels of light-activated expression for each FUN-LOV variants using the luciferase reporter gene in the BY4741 yeast strain. The results indicate that FUN-LOVSP-Nat and FUN-LOVSP-Hph, either episomally or genome integrated, reached higher levels of luciferase expression upon blue-light stimulation compared the original FUN-LOV system. Finally, we demonstrated the functionality of FUN-LOVSP-Hph in the 59A-EC1118 wine yeast strain, showing similar levels of reporter gene induction under blue-light respect to the laboratory strain, and with lower luciferase expression background in darkness condition. Altogether, the new FUN-LOV variants described here are functional in different yeast strains, expanding the biotechnological applications of this optogenetic tool.
Maximizing protein production by keeping cells at optimal secretory stress levels using real‐time control approaches.
The production of recombinant proteins is a problem of major industrial and pharmaceutical importance. Secretion of the protein by the host cell considerably simplifies downstream purification processes. However, it is also the limiting production step for many hard‐to‐secrete proteins. Current solutions involve extensive chassis engineering to favor trafficking and limit protein degradation triggered by excessive secretion‐ associated stress. Here, we propose instead a regulation‐based strategy in which induction is dynamically adjusted based on the current stress level of the cells. Using a small collection of hard‐to‐secrete proteins and a bioreactor‐based platform with automated cytometry measurements, we demonstrate that the regulation sweet spot is indicated by the appearance of a bimodal distribution of internal protein and of secretory stress levels, when a fraction of the cell population accumulates high amounts of proteins, decreases growth, and faces significant stress, that is, experiences a secretion burn‐out. In these cells, adaptations capabilities are overwhelmed by a too strong production. With these notions, we define an optimal stress level based on physiological readouts. Then, using real‐time control, we demonstrate that a strategy that keeps the stress at optimal levels increases production of a single‐chain antibody by 70%.
Optogenetic control of beta-carotene bioproduction in yeast across multiple lab-scales.
Optogenetics arises as a valuable tool to precisely control genetic circuits in microbial cell factories. Light control holds the promise of optimizing bioproduction methods and maximize yields, but its implementation at different steps of the strain development process and at different culture scales remains challenging. In this study, we aim to control beta-carotene bioproduction using optogenetics in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and investigate how its performance translates across culture scales. We built four lab-scale illumination devices, each handling different culture volumes, and each having specific illumination characteristics and cultivating conditions. We evaluated optogenetic activation and beta-carotene production across devices and optimized them both independently. Then, we combined optogenetic induction and beta-carotene production to make a light-inducible beta-carotene producer strain. This was achieved by placing the transcription of the bifunctional lycopene cyclase / phytoene synthase CrtYB under the control of the pC120 optogenetic promoter regulated by the EL222-VP16 light-activated transcription factor, while other carotenogenic enzymes (CrtI, CrtE, tHMG) were expressed constitutively. We show that illumination, culture volume and shaking impact differently optogenetic activation and beta-carotene production across devices. This enabled us to determine the best culture conditions to maximize light-induced beta-carotene production in each of the devices, reaching a content of up to 880 μg/gCDW. Our study exemplifies the stakes of scaling up optogenetics in devices of different lab scales and sheds light on the interplays and potential conflicts between optogenetic control and metabolic pathway efficiency. As a general principle, we propose that it is important to first optimize both components of the system independently, before combining them into optogenetic producing strains to avoid extensive troubleshooting. We anticipate that our results can help designing both strains and devices that could eventually lead to larger scale systems in an effort to bring optogenetics to the industrial scale.
Light-induced fermenter production of derivatives of the sweet protein monellin is maximized in prestationary Saccharomyces cerevisiae cultures.
Optogenetics has great potential for biotechnology and metabolic engineering due to the cost-effective control of cellular activities. The usage of optogenetics techniques for the biosynthesis of bioactive molecules ensures reduced costs and enhanced regulatory possibilities. This requires development of efficient methods for light-delivery during a production process in a fermenter. Here, we benchmarked the fermenter production of a low-caloric sweetener in Saccharomyces cerevisiae with optogenetic tools against the production in small scale cell culture flasks. An expression system based on the light-controlled interaction between Cry2 and Cib1 was used for sweet-protein production. Optimization of the fermenter process was achieved by increasing the light-flux during the production phase to circumvent shading by yeast cells at high densities. Maximal amounts of the sweet-protein were produced in a pre-stationary growth phase, whereas at later stages, a decay in protein abundance was observable. Our investigation showcases the upscaling of an optogenetic production process from small flasks to a bioreactor. Optogenetic-controlled production in a fermenter is highly cost-effective due to the cheap inducer and therefore a viable alternative to chemicals for a process that requires an induction step.
Synthetic gene networks recapitulate dynamic signal decoding and differential gene expression.
Cells live in constantly changing environments and employ dynamic signaling pathways to transduce information about the signals they encounter. However, the mechanisms by which dynamic signals are decoded into appropriate gene expression patterns remain poorly understood. Here, we devise networked optogenetic pathways that achieve dynamic signal processing functions that recapitulate cellular information processing. Exploiting light-responsive transcriptional regulators with differing response kinetics, we build a falling edge pulse detector and show that this circuit can be employed to demultiplex dynamically encoded signals. We combine this demultiplexer with dCas9-based gene networks to construct pulsatile signal filters and decoders. Applying information theory, we show that dynamic multiplexing significantly increases the information transmission capacity from signal to gene expression state. Finally, we use dynamic multiplexing for precise multidimensional regulation of a heterologous metabolic pathway. Our results elucidate design principles of dynamic information processing and provide original synthetic systems capable of decoding complex signals for biotechnological applications.
Using single-cell models to predict the functionality of synthetic circuits at the population scale.
SignificanceAt the single-cell level, biochemical processes are inherently stochastic. For many natural systems, the resulting cell-to-cell variability is exploited by microbial populations. In synthetic biology, however, the interplay of cell-to-cell variability and population processes such as selection or growth often leads to circuits not functioning as predicted by simple models. Here we show how multiscale stochastic kinetic models that simultaneously track single-cell and population processes can be obtained based on an augmentation of the chemical master equation. These models enable us to quantitatively predict complex population dynamics of a yeast optogenetic differentiation system from a specification of the circuit's components and to demonstrate how cell-to-cell variability can be exploited to purposefully create unintuitive circuit functionality.
Systematic In Vivo Characterization of Fluorescent Protein Maturation in Budding Yeast.
Fluorescent protein (FP) maturation can limit the accuracy with which dynamic intracellular processes are captured and reduce the in vivo brightness of a given FP in fast-dividing cells. The knowledge of maturation timescales can therefore help users determine the appropriate FP for each application. However, in vivo maturation rates can greatly deviate from in vitro estimates that are mostly available. In this work, we present the first systematic study of in vivo maturation for 12 FPs in budding yeast. To overcome the technical limitations of translation inhibitors commonly used to study FP maturation, we implemented a new approach based on the optogenetic stimulations of FP expression in cells grown under constant nutrient conditions. Combining the rapid and orthogonal induction of FP transcription with a mathematical model of expression and maturation allowed us to accurately estimate maturation rates from microscopy data in a minimally invasive manner. Besides providing a useful resource for the budding yeast community, we present a new joint experimental and computational approach for characterizing FP maturation, which is applicable to a wide range of organisms.
Timescale of degradation-driven protein level fluctuation in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Generating robust, predictable perturbations in cellular protein levels will advance our understanding of protein function and enable control of physiological outcomes in biotechnology applications. Previous studies have shown that controlling RNA transcription achieves perturbations in protein levels over a timescale of several hours. Here, we demonstrate the potential for harnessing the protein degradation machinery to achieve robust, rapid control of a specific protein level in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using a light-driven protein degradation machinery and red fluorescent proteins as reporters, we show that under constant transcriptional induction, repeated triangular fluctuations in protein levels can be generated by controlling the protein degradation rate. Consistent with previous results using transcriptional control, we observed a continuous decrease in the magnitude of fluctuations as the modulation frequency increased, indicating low-pass filtering of input perturbation. However, compared to hour-scale fluctuations observed using transcriptional control, modulating the protein degradation rate enabled five to ten minute-scale fluctuations. Our study demonstrates the potential for repeated control of protein levels by controlling protein degradation rate, at timescales much shorter than that achieved by transcriptional control.
An Optogenetic Toolbox for Synergistic Regulation of Protein Abundance.
Optogenetic tools have been proven to be useful in regulating cellular processes via an external signal. Light can be applied with high spatial and temporal precision as well as easily modulated in quantity and quality. Natural photoreceptors of the light oxygen voltage (LOV) domain family have been characterized in depth, especially the LOV2 domain of Avena sativa (As) phototropin 1 and its derivatives. Information on the behavior of LOV2 variants with changes in the photocycle or the light response has been recorded. Here, we applied well-described photocycle mutations on the AsLOV2 domain of a photosensitive transcription factor (psTF) as well as its variant that is part of the photosensitive degron (psd) psd3 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In vivo and in vitro measurements revealed that each photoreceptor component of the light-sensitive transcription factor and the psd3 module can be modulated in its light sensitivity by mutations that are known to prolong or shorten the dark-reversion time of AsLOV2. Yet, only two of the mutations showed differences in the in vivo behavior in the context of the psd3 module. For the AsLOV2 domain in the context of the psTF, we observed different characteristics for all four variants. Molecular dynamics simulations showed distinct influences of the shortened Jα helix and the V416L mutation in the context of the psd3 photoreceptor. In conclusion, we demonstrated the tunability of two optogenetic tools with a set of mutations that affect the photocycle of the inherent photoreceptors. As these optogenetic tools are concurrent in their action, pleiotropic effects on target protein abundance are achievable with the simultaneous action of the diverse photoreceptor variants.
A light tunable differentiation system for the creation and control of consortia in yeast.
Artificial microbial consortia seek to leverage division-of-labour to optimize function and possess immense potential for bioproduction. Co-culturing approaches, the preferred mode of generating a consortium, remain limited in their ability to give rise to stable consortia having finely tuned compositions. Here, we present an artificial differentiation system in budding yeast capable of generating stable microbial consortia with custom functionalities from a single strain at user-defined composition in space and in time based on optogenetically-driven genetic rewiring. Owing to fast, reproducible, and light-tunable dynamics, our system enables dynamic control of consortia composition in continuous cultures for extended periods. We further demonstrate that our system can be extended in a straightforward manner to give rise to consortia with multiple subpopulations. Our artificial differentiation strategy establishes a novel paradigm for the creation of complex microbial consortia that are simple to implement, precisely controllable, and versatile to use.
Rapid prototyping and design of cybergenetic single-cell controllers.
The design and implementation of synthetic circuits that operate robustly in the cellular context is fundamental for the advancement of synthetic biology. However, their practical implementation presents challenges due to low predictability of synthetic circuit design and time-intensive troubleshooting. Here, we present the Cyberloop, a testing framework to accelerate the design process and implementation of biomolecular controllers. Cellular fluorescence measurements are sent in real-time to a computer simulating candidate stochastic controllers, which in turn compute the control inputs and feed them back to the controlled cells via light stimulation. Applying this framework to yeast cells engineered with optogenetic tools, we examine and characterize different biomolecular controllers, test the impact of non-ideal circuit behaviors such as dilution on their operation, and qualitatively demonstrate improvements in controller function with certain network modifications. From this analysis, we derive conditions for desirable biomolecular controller performance, thereby avoiding pitfalls during its biological implementation.