Case ID: M21-235L^

Published: 2022-02-26 13:42:34

Last Updated: 1677136371


Rong Zhang
Hanah Goetz
Juan Melendez-Alvarez
Xiao Wang
Xiaojun Tian

Technology categories

Computing & Information TechnologyGenomic Assays/Reagents/ToolsLife Science (All LS Techs)

Licensing Contacts

Jovan Heusser
Director of Licensing and Business Development
[email protected]

Synthetic Gene Circuits

­Engineering synthetic gene circuits allows scientists to design cells to perform any number of tasks such as biosensing, therapeutic or commodity production or bioremediation to name a few. An important design principle when engineering sophisticated synthetic gene circuits is modularity as it breaks the system down into small modules, thereby reducing complexity. However, even with rigorous rounds of design-build-test iterations, the whole circuit often does not function as anticipated. Resource competition has been suggested as a reason for such performance failures; limited resources may result in undesired competition between the modules within one gene circuit. Understanding how the modules in a circuit are unintentionally coupled is essential to mitigate resource competition and modularity loss.
Researchers at Arizona State University have created a synthetic cascading bistable switches (Syn-CBS) circuit system that addresses the obstacle of resource competition in designing synthetic gene circuits. These Syn-CBS systems manage resource competition between the modules of the synthetic gene circuit. The Syn-CBS system comprises two modules that may be expressed in one cell/the same kind of cell (single strain), or each expressed in different kinds of cells (two-strain). Testing with both the single- and two-strain Syn-CBS circuits show corrections in micro-organism consortia of deviated cell fate transitions due to resource competition. The effect of the resource competition on the circuit is minimized through a division of labor using microbial consortia.
This circuit system builds synthetic cascading bistable switches circuits to achieve successful cell fate transitions.
Potential Applications
  • Single-strain Syn-CBS circuits can be used to test the other controlling strategies of resource competition
  • Two-strain Syn-CBS circuits can be used for studying the multiple cell fate transition and delivery of multiple drugs
  • Engineering multicellular synthetic systems and metabolic pathways
    • Biomedicine
    • Environmental science
    • Applied life science
Benefits and Advantages
  • The Syn-CBS circuits can be utilized to coordinate multiple cell fate decisions.
  • Deviated cell fate transitions due to resource competition were corrected in micro-organism consortia
  • Reduces or eliminates unfavorable circuit-host interactions
    • Increases performance for making machinery for transcriptional and translational purposes when using microbial consortia
For more information about this opportunity, please see
For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see