Identification and Uses of a Novel Transcriptional Activator That Uses Visible Light As Its Inducer

Dartmouth researchers are contributing to the rapidly emerging field of regulatable gene expression. Recent research at Dartmouth has identified a protein complex that activates gene expression in response to light. This may provide a means to induce gene expression using the reliable, readily available, inexpensive, non-toxic, and non-pleiotropic inducer, light.

Current methods of controlling gene expression such as inducible promoters, heat shock, hormones, or drugs such as tetracycline or IPTG, have generally suffered from exogenous inducer molecules evoking pleiotropic effects which complicate analyses. Dartmouth researchers have identified a two-protein complex that will reliably activate transcription of genes linked to one or more short DNA light-responsive regulatory sequences.

The system is based on use of the white collar complex (WCC) from the filamentous fungus Neurospora that can activate gene expression in vivo using only light as an inducer. The WCC is comprised of two proteins, WC-1 and WC-2 that readily heterodimerize and strongly bind the cofactor FAD. The WCC is able to absorb light and subsequently activate transcription of a gene operatively-linked to a light-responsive regulatory sequence which is bound by the WCC. Thus, in a host cell, transcription of a gene, operatively-linked to one or more light-responsive regulatory sequences, is stimulated by WC-1/WC-2 by altering the fluence or wavelength of light exposed to the host cell.

These findings are claimed in the issued United States Patent No. 6,733,996. We are seeking an industrial partner to further refine and market this technology. (Ref: J203

Type of Offer: Licensing

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