Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 60, Issue 8, pp 608–620 | Cite as

Synthetic Promoters: Designing the cis Regulatory Modules for Controlled Gene Expression

  • Jameel Aysha
  • Muhammad Noman
  • Fawei Wang
  • Weican Liu
  • Yonggang Zhou
  • Haiyan LiEmail author
  • Xiaowei LiEmail author


Designing the expression cassettes with desired properties remains the most important consideration of gene engineering technology. One of the challenges for predictive gene expression is the modeling of synthetic gene switches to regulate one or more target genes which would directly respond to specific chemical, environmental, and physiological stimuli. Assessment of natural promoter, high-throughput sequencing, and modern biotech inventory aided in deciphering the structure of cis elements and molding the native cis elements into desired synthetic promoter. Synthetic promoters which are molded by rearrangement of cis motifs can greatly benefit plant biotechnology applications. This review gives a glimpse of the manual in vivo gene regulation through synthetic promoters. It summarizes the integrative design strategy of synthetic promoters and enumerates five approaches for constructing synthetic promoters. Insights into the pattern of cis regulatory elements in the pursuit of desirable “gene switches” to date has also been reevaluated. Joint strategies of bioinformatics modeling and randomized biochemical synthesis are addressed in an effort to construct synthetic promoters for intricate gene regulation.


cis motifs Synthetic promoter Gene regulation In silico approaches Bioinformatics 



Cauliflower mosaic virus




Transcription factor


Abscisic acid


DNA binding domain


Upstream activating region




Light responsive elements


Transcription start site


Poly galacturonase



This research was supported by the Special Program for Research of Transgenic Plants (2016ZX08010-002), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31601323, 31501366, 31401403), the Key Scientific and the Natural Science Foundation of Science Technology Department of Jilin Province (20170101015JC), Technological Project of Science Technology Department of Jilin Province (20150204027NY).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life Sciences, Engineering Research Center of the Chinese Ministry of Education for Bioreactor and Pharmaceutical DevelopmentJilin Agricultural UniversityChangchunPeople’s Republic of China

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