Robust and flexible platform for directed evolution of yeast genetic switches

Masahiro Tominaga, Kenta Nozaki, Daisuke Umeno, Jun Ishii*, Akihiko Kondo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


A wide repertoire of genetic switches has accelerated prokaryotic synthetic biology, while eukaryotic synthetic biology has lagged in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Eukaryotic genetic switches are larger and more complex than prokaryotic ones, complicating the rational design and evolution of them. Here, we present a robust workflow for the creation and evolution of yeast genetic switches. The selector system was designed so that both ON- and OFF-state selection of genetic switches is completed solely by liquid handling, and it enabled parallel screen/selection of different motifs with different selection conditions. Because selection threshold of both ON- and OFF-state selection can be flexibly tuned, the desired selection conditions can be rapidly pinned down for individual directed evolution experiments without a prior knowledge either on the library population. The system’s utility was demonstrated using 20 independent directed evolution experiments, yielding genetic switches with elevated inducer sensitivities, inverted switching behaviours, sensory functions, and improved signal-to-noise ratio (>100-fold induction). The resulting yeast genetic switches were readily integrated, in a plug-and-play manner, into an AND-gated carotenoid biosynthesis pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1846
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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