Nature Reviews Microbiology FOCUS Synthetic biology

来源: 时间:June 17, 2014, 12:36 a.m.

Since its inception almost 15 years ago, synthetic biology has evolved into a vibrant and productive field, owing in large part to the use of model microorganisms for the design, creation and implementation of both simple and more sophisticated biological systems. This Focus issue ofNature Reviews Microbiology presents a set of specially commissioned articles that together chart the technological and cultural developments of the field, provide a framework for the use of emerging synthetic devices for microbial engineering, discuss the use of alternative microorganisms for industrial-scale applications and describe the first successful 'real-world' application that has been achieved. The Focus issue is accompanied by a joint Web Special with Nature Methods and Nature which can be accessed from the following link:


Milestones in synthetic (micro)biology


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12309 (2014)

This Focus issue highlights the growth of synthetic biology as a vibrant and vigorous scientific discipline that has its roots firmly grounded in microbiology.


Research Highlights

Techniques & applications: RNAi 'off-targets' pathogen infection

Ursula Hofer


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12314–315 (2014)

This study shows that many of the off-target effects that are observed in siRNA screens are specific and depend on the siRNA seed sequence.

Synthetic biology: E. coli reporter gets the inside scoop

Christina Tobin Kåhrström


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12314–315 (2014)

Engineering Escherichia coli with a genetic memory circuit that can sense and report on antibiotic exposure in the mammalian gut.


Synthetic biology: Building a designer yeast genome

Christina Tobin Kåhrström


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12313 (2014)



A versatile framework for microbial engineering using synthetic noncoding RNAs

Lei S. Qi & Adam P. Arkin


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12341–354 (2014)

Non-coding RNA devices, such as CRISPR–Cas systems, riboswitches and RNA scaffolds, have emerged as a versatile class of genetic regulatory elements that are used in a broad range of synthetic biology applications. In this Review, Arkin and Qi discuss the design, engineering and application of synthetic non-coding RNA devices for microbial engineering.

Semi-synthetic artemisinin: a model for the use of synthetic biology in pharmaceutical development

Chris J. Paddon & Jay D. Keasling


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12355–367 (2014)

Entry of the antimalarial drug precursor semi-synthetic artemisinin into industrial production is the first major milestone for the application of synthetic biology. In this Review, Paddon and Keasling discuss the metabolic engineering and synthetic biology approaches that were used to engineerEscherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae to synthesize a precursor of artemisinin, which should aid the development of other pharmaceutical products.

Biotechnological domestication of pseudomonads through synthetic biology

Pablo I. Nikel, Esteban Martínez-García & Víctor de Lorenzo


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12368–379 (2014)

Much of synthetic biology research makes use of model organisms, such asEscherichia coli. Here, Víctor de Lorenzo and colleagues emphasize the need for a wider choice of model organisms and advocate the use of environmentalPseudomonas strains as model organisms that possess the necessary metabolic traits required to meet current and future synthetic biology and biotechnological needs.



A brief history of synthetic biology

D. Ewen Cameron, Caleb J. Bashor & James J. Collins


Nature Reviews Microbiology 12381–390 (2014)

In this Timeline article, Collins and colleagues chart the history of synthetic biology since its inception just over a decade ago, with a focus on both the cultural and scientific progress that has been made as well as on key breakthroughs and areas for future development.