Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program

External Control of Cell Processes

External control has been employed since many years to regulate culture growth and other physiological properties. Recently, taking inspiration from developments in synthetic biology, closed loop control has been applied to the regulation of intracellular processes. Such approaches offer unprecedented opportunities to investigate how a cell process dynamical information by maintaining it around specific operating points or driving it out of its standard operating conditions. They can also be used to complement and help the development of synthetic biology through the creation of hybrid systems resulting from the interconnection of in vivo and in silico computing devices.

In collaboration with Pascal Hersen (CNRS MSC lab), we developed a platform for gene expression control that enables to control protein concentrations in yeast cells. This platform integrates microfluidic devices enabling long-term observation and rapid change of the cells environment, microscopy for single cell measurements, and software for real-time signal quantification and model based control. We demonstrated recently that this platform enables controlling the level of a fluorescent protein in cells with unprecedented accuracy and for many cell generations (Jannis Uhlendorf, Agnés Miermont, Thierry Delaveau, Gilles Charvin, François Fages, Samuel Bottani, Grégory Batt, Pascal Hersen. Long-term model predictive control of gene expression at the population and single-cell levels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 109(35):14271–14276, 2012.).