• cell-free protein synthesis;
  • synthetic biology;
  • antisense oligodeoxynucleotide;
  • anti-antisense oligodeoxynucleotide


Herein we describe the methods for selective and reversible regulation of gene expression using antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) in a cell-free protein synthesis system programmed with multiple DNAs. Either a complete shut down or controlled level of gene expression was attained through the antisense ODN-mediated regulation of mRNA stability in the reaction mixture. In addition to the primary control of gene expression, we also demonstrate that the inhibition of protein synthesis can be reversed by using an anti-antisense ODN sequence that strips the antisense ODN off the target sequence of mRNA. As a result, sequential additions of the antisense and anti-antisense ODNs enabled the stop-and-go expression of protein molecules. Through the on-demand regulation of gene expression, presented results will provide a versatile platform for the analysis and understanding of the complicated networks of biological components. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2009;102: 577–582. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.