Life is defined by three core biomolecules: DNA, RNA and proteins, where proteins take the spotlight in synthetic biology. In contrast, we, the iGEM Team Heidelberg aim to engineer RNA to enable specific interactions between all three biomolecule chemistries.
To see how, take a look at our Project Description and follow along on our journey...
In times of COVID-19, in silico work is key. We put our project on a solid computational foundation by developing PRISM – our deep learning suite for RNA sequence specific RBP design.
To design not only RBPs, but also RNA sequences and structures, we constructed an operadic model of RNA structure.
We used our model to create CoNCoRDe – a framework for RNA sequence design.
Designing proteins and RNAs is not an easy feat. Therefore, we provide the iGEM community with 3DOC – a set of tools for designing and assembling modular protein domains – as well as RISE – our intelligent search tool for the iGEM registry.
However, the iGEMer's journey would not be complete without getting their hands dirty in the wetlab. To make engineering RBPs accessible to the wider iGEM community, we introduce a collection of modular RBP domains as well as the tools to design them.
True to our motto – A Link Between Proteins – we use our RBPs and RNA linkers to construct specific protein-RNA interactions.
From assembling split GFP, to recruiting protein domains to RNAs of interest.
For complete control over protein-RNA interactions, we want to go a step further and dynamically modify RNA inside the living cell. Towards this goal, we engineered versatile split variants of the Tetrahymena thermophila Group I intron.
Having visited protein-RNA and RNA-RNA interactions, we move on to the final boss – sequence-specific dsDNA-RNA interactions. We design RNA-controllable promoters using dsDNA-RNA triple helices and triple helix forming motifs.
An iGEM Team is not an island and science cannot be seen in isolation from society. Therefore we chose to engage with the public by designing an experimental course based on our project and organising a science slam to bring the message of iGEM to the masses. At every step of our project we engaged with out stakeholders to see where we could go. Take a look at our Human Practices page to get an inside view of our journey.
All of this would not have been possible without our wonderful team members, advisors, instructors and the one and only Professor Wölfl, as well as our sponsors and the numerous people who helped us out along the way.
Thank you!