A synthetic biology approach to transgene expression

P. Leftwich, T. , J. Purcell, C. , M. Anderson, A. E. , R. Fragkoudis, S. Basu, G. Lycett, T. and L. Alphey,  bioRxiv,  2023.08.31.555539. 2023.

The ability to control gene expression is pivotal in genetic engineering and synthetic biology. However, in most non-model and pest insect species, empirical evidence for predictable modulation of gene expression levels is lacking. This knowledge gap is critical for genetic control systems, particularly in mosquitoes, where transgenic methods offer novel routes for pest control. Commonly, the choice of RNA polymerase II promoter (Pol II) is the primary method for controlling gene expression, but the options are limited. To address this, we developed a systematic approach to characterize modifications in translation initiation sequences (TIS) and 3' untranslated regions (UTR) of transgenes, enabling the creation of a toolbox for gene expression modulation in mosquitoes and potentially other insects. The approach demonstrated highly predictable gene expression changes across various cell lines and promoter sequences, representing a significant advancement in mosquito synthetic biology gene expression.

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