A Universal, Light-switchable Gene Promoter System

Tech ID: 17068 / UC Case 2001-090-0


This invention consists of an artificial promoter system that can be fused upstream of any desired gene, enabling reversible and light-switchable induction or repression of gene expression in any suitable host cell.

New data to be filed in a provisional patent application demonstrates optimized expression conditions
and a "switching off" mechanism in addition to the "switching on" mechanism.


The present invention provides simple, rapid, reversible control of the expression of any desired gene in any suitable cell or organism of choice, at any chosen time, by the flip of a light switch. Background: There is a general need for readily regulatable promoters to control gene expression in a variety of experimental and commercial applications. Currently, the majority of such systems are based on the administration of chemical effectors that require diffusion into the cell to provide appropriate, non-toxic concentrations of the chemical at the target-gene site. This can be problematic, especially in multicellular organisms, where synchronous spatial and temporal induction or repression of target gene expression is desired in all cells.


Advantages and Improvement Over the Art: The present invention provides instantaneous, non-invasive, reversible induction or repression of target genes that can be simply and precisely controlled in a temporal and/or spatial fashion. The system is potentially applicable to any host cell or organism, including human. Precisely directed microbeams of light using lasers and/or fiber optics have the potential to activate or repress genes in single cells or small clusters, deep inside milticellular organisms, providing possible therapeutic uses, such as in treating human cancers. The ability to reversibly induce activation or repression of gene expression almost instantaneously in all transformed cells offers a unique advantage over the art.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 6,858,429 02/22/2005 2001-090


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Other Information


pharmacogenomics, gene, cDNA, gene therapy, expression system, research tool, agriculture

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