Tunable integrase-mediated differentiation facilitates improved output of burdensome functions in E. coli


Application of synthetic biology is limited by the capacity of cells to faithfully execute burdensome engineered functions in the face of Darwinian evolution. Division of labor, both metabolic and reproductive, are underutilized in confronting this barrier. To address this, we developed a serine-integrase based differentiation circuit that allows control of the population composition through tuning of the differentiation rate and number of cell divisions differentiated cells can undergo. We applied this system to T7 RNAP-driven expression of a fluorescent protein, and demonstrate both increased duration of circuit function and total production for high burden expression. While T7 expression systems are typically used for high-level short-term expression, this system enables longer duration production and could be readily applied to burdensome or toxic products not readily produced in bacteria.

ICB Affiliated Authors

Rory L. Williams, Richard M. Murray
Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution and Design (SEED) Conference)