Synthetic biology approaches to investigate RNA gene regulation in bacteria


RNA gene regulation is ubiquitous in bacteria. There are well documented RNA mechanisms that regulate nearly all aspects of gene expression including transcription, translation, and mRNA degradation. These mechanisms regulate genes involved in essential processes such as amino acid biosynthesis, bacterial motility, and metabolism. Moreover, RNAs are known to regulate the expression of key virulence factors and antibiotic resistance genes in pathogenic bacteria. The overall research goal of the Takahashi lab is to uncover the biological principles behind RNA gene regulation in bacteria to create new tools for engineering bacteria and develop new strategies for antimicrobial therapies. Our laboratory uses synthetic biology tools such as cell-free transcription-translation systems to: (1) Investigate sRNA regulatory responses to environmental changes; (2) Develop transcription attenuation mechanisms to engineer bacteria; and (3) Discover novel antimicrobial agents that target sRNA regulated antibiotic resistance mechanisms.