Synthetic biology is a multidisciplinary field that focuses on the rational design and construction of novel genetic tools for the purpose of engineering cells to behave in controllable and predictable ways. The promise of this modern technology relies on our understanding of basic genetics and gene expression to engineer cells with unique functions. This is accomplished by designing biological parts and assembling them into higher-order gene circuits that control cell operations through tight regulation of gene expression, effectively reprogramming and rewiring the cells. In this article, we review the basic concepts of gene expression, discuss the framework of how synthetic biologists reprogram cells and outline how cells can be engineered to function as new vehicles for delivering therapeutic proteins.

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