5th International Synthetic & Systems Biology Summer School   |   Certosa di Pontignano - Siena - Tuscany - Italy   |  July 25-29, 2018

Lecture 2: Building and Grand Scale Engineering of Eukaryotic Viral Genomes and Chromosomes

Lecture 2: Building and Grand Scale Engineering of Eukaryotic Viral Genomes and Chromosomes

Over the last 5 years, the JCVI Synthetic Biology team, which is best known for construction of bacterial cells programmed with synthetic genomes, has also taken on projects that required synthesis and booting up of small and large viral genomes, grand scale genome engineering of yeast chromosomes, and design, synthesis, and installation of human artificial chromosomes. Many of the methods we employed for these projects were derived from lessons learned through our project to makes the aforementioned synthetic bacterial and minimal bacterial cell. Other approaches had to be developed just for these eukaryotic genome and chromosome projects. I will present four vignettes about our sometimes successful and sometimes unsuccessful efforts that will offer insights into viral and eukaryotic grand scale genome manipulation.

  1. Rapid synthesis and booting up of Influenza virus genomes to speed and improve vaccine makers capacity to address new pandemics.
  2. Construction of a 155 kb Herpes Simplex Virus genome as a yeast centromeric plasmid and infectious virus production using that plasmid.
  3. Efforts to build and boot up a chromosome encoding only the genes essential for life for Kluyveromyces marxianus, which is a yeast and the fastest growing known eukaryote.
  4. Construction in yeast of a fully synthetic human artificial chromosome with a novel synthetic centromere and its installation into mammalian cells.