Investigating the Role of RNA Sponges in Systems and Synthetic Biology

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP


Small RNAs (sRNAs) are a ubiquitous mechanism of post-transcriptional gene expression regulation in bacteria and have found their way into various applications in synthetic biology. Recently, several sRNAs
that regulate other sRNAs have been identified. Several different regulatory mechanisms and methods of producing these RNA sponges have been uncovered. Additionally, hypotheses have been proposed on
the benefits they provide to gene regulatory networks over other forms of regulation. However, to our knowledge, no theoretical work has been undertaken to examine the properties of RNA sponges, and they
have not been utilized in synthetic biology. This project aims to (1) take a theoretical/modelling approach to understand the role and benefits of RNA sponges in gene regulation, (2) test these ideas experimentally,
and (3) based on our findings apply RNA sponges to synthetic biology. This project should, therefore, expand our understanding of bacterial gene regulation and expand the synthetic biology toolbox.

The proposed research addresses the following BBSRC priority areas:
(I) Synthetic biology.
(II) Systems approaches to the biosciences.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/T008784/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2028
2446102 Studentship BB/T008784/1 30/09/2020 29/09/2024 Scott Benjamin Stacey