Modeling Dynamic Transcriptional Circuits with CRISPRi


Targeted transcriptional repression with catalytically inactive Cas9 (CRISPRi) promises to reproduce the functions of traditional synthetic transcriptional circuits, but with better orthogonality, programmability, and extensibility. However, CRISPRi lacks obvious cooperativity–a feature classically considered critical for several classic gene regulatory circuits. We use a simple dynamical model of CRISPRi to show that it can be used to build repressilators, toggle switches, and incoherent feed-forward loops. We also show that the function some of these circuits are expected to be sensitive to several key parameters, and we provide specifications for those parameters. Our modeling reveals key engineering requirements and considerations for the construction of dynamic CRISPRi circuits, and provides a roadmap for building those circuits.

ICB Affiliated Authors

Samuel Clamons, Richard M. Murray