N Rosenfeld, JW Young, U Alon, PS Swain, MB Elowitz
Mol Syst Biol
A basic assumption underlying synthetic biology is that analysis of genetic circuit elements, such as regulatory proteins and promoters, can be used to understand and predict the behavior of circuits containing those elements. To test this assumption, we used time-lapse fluorescence microscopy to quantitatively analyze two autoregulatory negative feedback circuits. By measuring the gene regulation functions of the corresponding repressor-promoter interactions, we accurately predicted the expression level of the autoregulatory feedback loops, in molecular units. This demonstration that quantitative characterization of regulatory elements can predict the behavior of genetic circuits supports a fundamental requirement of synthetic biology.