Synthetic memory circuits for stable cell reprogramming in plants

James P B Lloyd, Florence Ly, Patrick Gong, Jahnvi Pflueger, Tessa Swain, Christian Pflueger, Elliott Fourie, Muhammad Adil Khan, Brendan N Kidd, Ryan Lister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


Plant biotechnology predominantly relies on a restricted set of genetic parts with limited capability to customize spatiotemporal and conditional expression patterns. Synthetic gene circuits have the potential to integrate multiple customizable input signals through a processing unit constructed from biological parts to produce a predictable and programmable output. Here we present a suite of functional recombinase-based gene circuits for use in plants. We first established a range of key gene circuit components compatible with plant cell functionality. We then used these to develop a range of operational logic gates using the identify function (activation) and negation function (repression) in Arabidopsis protoplasts and in vivo, demonstrating their utility for programmable manipulation of transcriptional activity in a complex multicellular organism. Specifically, using recombinases and plant control elements, we activated transgenes in YES, OR and AND gates and repressed them in NOT, NOR and NAND gates; we also implemented the A NIMPLY B gate that combines activation and repression. Through use of genetic recombination, these circuits create stable long-term changes in expression and recording of past stimuli. This highly compact programmable gene circuit platform provides new capabilities for engineering sophisticated transcriptional programs and previously unrealized traits into plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1862-1872
Number of pages11
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


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