Synthesis of the load on the synthetic gene region will make the therapy more effective.
A new process of inserting synthetic gene chains into host cells developed by biotechnologists at Arizona State University has far-reaching implications for improving the effectiveness of disease therapy.
Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary field of research that uses engineering principles to create biological components that do not exist in the natural world. These synthetic ingredients mimic naturally occurring organisms but are adapted to fight diseases, including cancer.
A recently published paper Nature communications“Winner-Takes-All Resources Competition Redirects Cascading Cell Fate Transitions” outlines how gene chains can be rearranged so that they do not overload the host cells.
“We connect the chains like we put a Lego chain in a host cell,” explained Xiaojun Tia, an assistant professor at the ASPU School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering. “Chain chains are designed to perform different functions, but they must compete with each other for limited cell resources.”
Competition for resources has been a challenge in synthetic biology since its inception 20 years ago. “We would find that one gene chain would deplete 90 percent of the host cell’s available resources, leaving only 10 percent for the rest of the chain.”
Tian’s team devised a way to insert individual gene chains into multiple receptor cells that work together. Each cell performs a specific function, eliminating unwanted competition for any host cell resources. “Instead of allocating resources, each cell can carry 100 percent of its assigned load,” Tia said. “Receiving cells act as a connected unit, without consuming the resources of a single cell, each gene region becomes the winner.”
Technology has far-reaching implications for the treatment of cancer, with future applications for other diseases on the horizon. Ninety percent of cancer deaths are due to metastases that spread cancer cells to other parts of the body. However, resistance to treatment is still a major issue in cancer therapy.
“There are many different types of cells in a cancer cell,” Tia said. “Some cells respond to chemotherapy, while others do not, causing resistance to treatment.
“Multipurpose synthetic gene gene circuits can be constructed to prevent cell metastasis in the first place, while making them more receptive to treatment.”
Tia explains that multicellular synthetic chains will be a much more effective way to treat cancer.
Reference. February 8, 2021, Nature communications,
DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-021-21125-3:
The research team also includes Rong Hang Ang from Aronzona State University, Hanah Goetz, Juan Melendez-Alvarez, ia yao Lin և Xiao Wang, and Tian Ding from H Zhejiang University in China. The research was funded by the postgraduate study of the National Science Foundation և ASPU Dean.