Sequence-to-function deep learning frameworks for synthetic biology

Jacqueline Valeri, Katherine M. Collins, Bianca A. Lepe, Timothy K. Lu, Diogo M. Camacho

Like Comment

Received Date: 3rd December 19

While synthetic biology has revolutionized our approaches to medicine, agriculture, and energy, the design of novel circuit components beyond nature-inspired templates can prove itself challenging without well-established design rules. Toehold switches — programmable nucleic acid sensors — face an analogous prediction and design bottleneck: our limited understanding of how sequence impacts functionality can require expensive, time-consuming screens for effective switches. Here, we introduce the Sequence-based Toehold Optimization and Redesign Model (STORM), a deep learning architecture that applies gradient ascent to re-engineer poorly-performing toeholds. Based on a dataset of 91,534 toehold switches, we examined convolutional filters and saliency maps of sequences to interpret our sequence-to-function model, identifying hot spots where mutations change toehold effectiveness and features unique to high-performing switches. Our modeling platform provides frameworks for future toehold selection, augmenting our ability to construct potent synthetic circuit components and precision diagnostics, and enabling straightforward translation of this in silico workflow to other circuitries.

Read in full at bioRxiv.

This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

Go to the profile of Nature Communications

Nature Communications

Nature Research, Springer Nature