5′ untranslated regions: the next regulatory sequence in yeast synthetic biology
When developing industrial biotechnology processes, Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast or brewer's yeast) is a popular choice as a microbial host. Many tools have been developed in the fields of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to introduce heterologous pathways and tune their expression in yeast. Such tools mainly focus on controlling transcription, whereas post-transcriptional regulation is often overlooked. Herein we discuss regulatory elements found in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) and their influence on protein synthesis. We provide not only an overall picture, but also a set of design rules on how to engineer a 5' UTR. The reader is also referred to currently available models that allow gene expression to be tuned predictably using different 5' UTRs.