Synthetic biology: lessons from engineering yeast MAPK signalling pathways.
Journal article, 2013
All living cells respond to external stimuli and execute specific physiological responses through signal transduction pathways. Understanding the mechanisms controlling signalling pathways is important for diagnosing and treating diseases and for reprogramming cells with desired functions. Although many of the signalling components in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have been identified by genetic studies, many features concerning the dynamic control of pathway activity, cross-talk, cell-to-cell variability or robustness against perturbation are still incompletely understood. Comparing the behaviour of engineered and natural signalling pathways offers insight complementary to that achievable with standard genetic and molecular studies. Here, we review studies that aim at a deeper understanding of signalling design principles and generation of novel signalling properties by engineering the yeast mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways. The underlying approaches can be applied to other organisms including mammalian cells and offer opportunities for building synthetic pathways and functionalities useful in medicine and biotechnology.