Genetic Circuit-Assisted Smart Microbial Engineering

Cong Gao, Peng Xu, Chao Ye, Xiulai Chen, Liming Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Rapid advances in DNA synthesis, genetic manipulation, and biosensors have greatly improved the ability to engineer microorganisms with complex functions. By accurately integrating quality biosensors and complex genetic circuits, recently emerged smart microorganisms have enabled exciting opportunities for dissecting complex signaling networks and making responses without artificial intervention. However, because of the lack of design principles, developing such smart microorganisms remains challenging. In this review, we propose the concept of smart microbial engineering (SME) and describe the general features of basic SME, including the circuit architecture, components, and design process. We also summarize the latest SME achievements, remaining challenges, and potential solutions in this growing field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1011-1024
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • applications
  • genetic circuits
  • metabolic engineering
  • microbial engineering
  • synthetic biology


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