Understanding thermal sensitivity at the molecular level and developing temperature-based systems using RNA Thermometers

Fatih Gul, Ibrahim Y Orhan, Furkan S Ceylan, Nadir B Akdeniz, H Abdulkadir Karadag


Purpose: Temperature sensitivity is found in all multicelleular organisms, as well as in most primitive life forms. The ubiquity of this temperature sensitivity is an indicator of its effects at the multicellular, cellular and molecular levels [1]. Previous studies have shown that temperature-based regulation is present in the transcriptional process [2]. RNA Thermometers, temperature-sensitive sequences, have been shown to act on heat-shock genes to regulate temperature-dependant systems in many organisms [3,4]. The goal of this study was to characterize the shifts in the functioning of these RNA Thermometers at various temperatures. In addition, using the principle of transcriptional thermoregulation, an automated temperature-responsive system stimulating inverse endothermic and exothermic enzymatic reactions for heat stabilization was proposed.

Methods: The endothermic enzymatic reaction was designated as the breakdown of urea, reflecting the function of urease, and the exothermic reaction was designated as the breakdown of hydrogen peroxide, reflecting the function of catalase [5].

Results: The proposed system was built upon the translation of urease and the inhibition of catalase translation at higher temperatures, and the inverse at lower temperatures. As RNA Thermometers can be used only to drive transcription at higher temperatures, the installation of a lac-regulated 2-way system was suggested. This system would also provide a synthetic solution to thermoregulation and the current systems employed today. This system could be applied where the current thermoregulatory systems prove insufficient and could be further developed and optimized to replace them in the future.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v39i6.27492


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