Controlling messenger RNA stability in bacteria: Strategies for engineering gene expression

  • Carrier T
  • Keasling J
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Recent advances in the understanding of prokaryotic gene expression have led scientists to look beyond traditional promoter control for new methods of regulating gene expression. A promising, new technique centers on controlling the stability of messenger RNA. To exploit the potential of mRNA stability for gene expression control, it is important to understand the mechanisms of prokaryotic mRNA decay as well as the cellular factors that can be used to enhance bacterial gene expression through mRNA stabilization. Factors involved in controlling prokaryotic mRNA stability such as nucleases, secondary structures, translation influences, and transcription effects are discussed and analyzed within the context of three prevailing mRNA decay theories. Several strategies for manipulating mRNA stability in genetically-engineered cells are developed from these discussions and presented as a future direction in gene expression control. In the near future, it should be possible to use these strategies to control mRNA stability in such applications as pharmaceutical protein production and metabolic pathway design.

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