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Research highlight : COMPUTER‐AIDED BIOCHEMICAL PROGRAMMING OF SYNTHETIC MICROREACTORS AS DIAGNOSTIC DEVICES
COMPUTER‐AIDED BIOCHEMICAL PROGRAMMING OF SYNTHETIC MICROREACTORS AS DIAGNOSTIC DEVICES
27 April 2018

Alexis Courbet, Patrick Amar, Francois Fages, Eric Renard, Franck Molina
Mol Syst Biol. (2018) 14: e7845
DOI 10.15252/msb.20177845
Biological systems have evolved efficient sensing and decision‐making mechanisms to maximize fitness in changing molecular environments. Synthetic biologists have exploited these capabilities to engineer control on information and energy processing in living cells. While engineered organisms pose important technological and ethical challenges, de novo assembly of non‐living biomolecular devices could offer promising avenues toward various real‐world applications. However, assembling biochemical parts into functional information processing systems has remained challenging due to extensive multidimensional parameter spaces that must be sampled comprehensively in order to identify robust, specification compliant molecular implementations. We introduce a systematic methodology based on automated computational design and microfluidics enabling the programming of synthetic cell‐like microreactors embedding biochemical logic circuits, or protosensors, to perform accurate biosensing and biocomputing operations in vitro according to temporal logic specifications. We show that proof‐of‐concept protosensors integrating diagnostic algorithms detect specific patterns of biomarkers in human clinical samples. Protosensors may enable novel approaches to medicine and represent a step toward autonomous micromachines capable of precise interfacing of human physiology or other complex biological environments, ecosystems, or industrial bioprocesses.



Keyword
  ° Synthetic biology

Group
  ° Bioinformatics

Contact
  ° AMAR Patrick