Background: The study of simplified, ad-hoc constructed model systems can help to elucidate if quantitatively characterized biological parts can be effectively re-used in composite circuits to yield predictable functions. Synthetic systems designed from the bottom-up can enable the building of complex interconnected devices via rational approach, supported by mathematical modelling. However, such process is affected by different, usually non-modelled, unpredictability sources, like cell burden. Methods: Here, we analyzed a set of synthetic transcriptional cascades in Escherichia coli. We aimed to test the predictive power of a simple Hill function activation/repression model (no-burden model, NBM) and of a recently proposed model, including Hill functions and the modulation of proteins expression by cell load (burden model, BM). To test the bottom-up approach, the circuit collection was divided into training and test sets, used to learn individual component functions and test the predicted output of interconnected circuits, respectively. Results: Among the constructed configurations, two test set circuits showed unexpected logic behaviour. Both NBM and BM were able to predict the quantitative output of interconnected devices with expected behaviour, but only the BM was also able to predict the output of one circuit with unexpected behaviour. Moreover, considering training and test set data together, the BM captures circuits output with higher accuracy than the NBM, which is unable to capture the experimental output exhibited by some of the circuits even qualitatively. Finally, resource usage parameters, estimated via BM, guided the successful construction of new corrected variants of the two circuits showing unexpected behaviour. Conclusions: Superior descriptive and predictive capabilities were achieved considering resource limitation modelling, but further efforts are needed to improve the accuracy of models for biological engineering.

Re-using biological devices: A model-aided analysis of interconnected transcriptional cascades designed from the bottom-up

Bellato M.;Magni P.
2017

Abstract

Background: The study of simplified, ad-hoc constructed model systems can help to elucidate if quantitatively characterized biological parts can be effectively re-used in composite circuits to yield predictable functions. Synthetic systems designed from the bottom-up can enable the building of complex interconnected devices via rational approach, supported by mathematical modelling. However, such process is affected by different, usually non-modelled, unpredictability sources, like cell burden. Methods: Here, we analyzed a set of synthetic transcriptional cascades in Escherichia coli. We aimed to test the predictive power of a simple Hill function activation/repression model (no-burden model, NBM) and of a recently proposed model, including Hill functions and the modulation of proteins expression by cell load (burden model, BM). To test the bottom-up approach, the circuit collection was divided into training and test sets, used to learn individual component functions and test the predicted output of interconnected circuits, respectively. Results: Among the constructed configurations, two test set circuits showed unexpected logic behaviour. Both NBM and BM were able to predict the quantitative output of interconnected devices with expected behaviour, but only the BM was also able to predict the output of one circuit with unexpected behaviour. Moreover, considering training and test set data together, the BM captures circuits output with higher accuracy than the NBM, which is unable to capture the experimental output exhibited by some of the circuits even qualitatively. Finally, resource usage parameters, estimated via BM, guided the successful construction of new corrected variants of the two circuits showing unexpected behaviour. Conclusions: Superior descriptive and predictive capabilities were achieved considering resource limitation modelling, but further efforts are needed to improve the accuracy of models for biological engineering.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3377771
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