Mobius assembly: A versatile golden-gate framework towards universal DNA assembly

Andreas I. Andreou*, Naomi Nakayama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Synthetic biology builds upon the foundation of engineering principles, prompting innovation and improvement in biotechnology via a design-build-test-learn cycle. A community-wide standard in DNA assembly would enable bio-molecular engineering at the levels of predictivity and universality in design and construction that are comparable to other engineering fields. Golden Gate Assembly technology, with its robust capability to unidirectionally assemble numerous DNA fragments in a one-tube reaction, has the potential to deliver a universal standard framework for DNA assembly. While current Golden Gate Assembly frameworks (e.g. MoClo and Golden Braid) render either high cloning capacity or vector toolkit simplicity, the technology can be made more versatile—simple, streamlined, and cost/labor-efficient, without compromising capacity. Here we report the development of a new Golden Gate Assembly framework named Mobius Assembly, which combines vector toolkit simplicity with high cloning capacity. It is based on a two-level, hierarchical approach and utilizes a low-frequency cutter to reduce domestication requirements. Mobius Assembly embraces the standard overhang designs designated by MoClo, Golden Braid, and Phytobricks and is largely compatible with already available Golden Gate part libraries. In addition, dropout cassettes encoding chromogenic proteins were implemented for cost-free visible cloning screening that color-code different cloning levels. As proofs of concept, we have successfully assembled up to 16 transcriptional units of various pigmentation genes in both operon and multigene arrangements. Taken together, Mobius Assembly delivers enhanced versatility and efficiency in DNA assembly, facilitating improved standardization and automation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0189892
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


  • Cloning
  • Plasmid construction
  • Vector construction
  • Vector cloning
  • Carotenoids
  • Synthetic biology
  • Ligases
  • Chromoproteins


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