Synthetic modular systems - reverse engineering of signal transduction.
During the last decades, biology has decomposed cellular systems into genetic, functional and molecular networks. It has become evident that these networks consist of components with specific functions (e.g., proteins and genes). This has generated a considerable amount of knowledge and hypotheses concerning cellular organization. The idea discussed here is to test the extent of this knowledge by reconstructing, or reverse engineering, new synthetic biological systems from known components. We will discuss how integration of computational methods with proteomics and engineering concepts might lead us to a deeper and more abstract understanding of signal transduction systems. Designing and successfully introducing synthetic proteins into cellular pathways would provide us with a powerful research tool with many applications, such as development of biosensors, protein drugs and rewiring of biological pathways.