gene expression on a chip
We explore artificial gene expression systems in-vitro that could
ultimately mimic nature’s gene networks in controlling biochemical and
structural functions. We use cell-free transcription/translation
reactions to explore such systems. A surface is a natural
environment for carrying biosynthetic reactions under controlled
conditions and we have developed a unique biochip that is based on a new
molecule, called ‘Daisy’, which forms a photolitographic monolayer on
glass. Using photolithography we can immobilize any bio-molecule on
Daisy-coated surfaces with controlled density at sub-micron resolution.
Specifically, we have developed a methodology for immobilizing whole
genes, thousands of base-pairs long, at local gene density similar to
that in a bacterium cell. This DNA/surface interface provides means to
investigate gene expression under condition of crowding and confinement.
Additionally, we have demonstrated a simple two-stage gene circuit and
the integration of such systems in microfluidic devices.