Creating synthetic gene regulatory circuits in plants

Khan A, Kidd B and Lister R

ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, The University of Western Australia.

Plants have an innate ability to respond to the environment to efficiently allocate resources and regulate their development in order to survive. To produce economically valuable chemicals and metabolites in plants and gain control of plant yield and development, new genetic tools and regulatory switches are required that allow sophisticated and precise control of plant gene expression, without impacting the endogenous genetic regulatory system and its ability to respond to stress. Existing genetic switches typically produce a control function in one direction (either on or off, but not both), and therefore there is a need for more sophisticated switches that can integrate signals from multiple inputs and enact a logic function to produce a desired outcome. Here we report our progress in constructing modular synthetic biology components for targeted control of plant gene expression with the aim of constructing orthogonal regulatory circuits that enact Boolean based logic in plants.