STAR: a simple TAL effector assembly reaction using isothermal assembly

Sabine Gogolok, Claudia Garcia-Diaz, Steven M. Pollard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) contain modular programmable DNA binding domains. Fusing TALEs with effector domains creates synthetic transcription factors (TALE-TFs) or nucleases (TALENs), enabling precise gene manipulations. The construction of TALEs remains challenging due to their repetitive sequences. Here we report a simple TALE assembly reaction (STAR) that enables individual laboratories to generate multiple TALEs in a facile manner. STAR uses an isothermal assembly ('Gibson assembly') that is labour-and cost-effective, accessible, rapid and scalable. A small 68-part fragment library is employed, and the specific TALE repeat sequence is generated within similar to 8 hours. Sequence-verified TALENs or TALE-TF plasmids targeting 17 bp target sequences can be produced within three days, without the need for stepwise intermediate plasmid production. We demonstrate the utility of STAR through production of functional TALE-TFs capable of activating human SOX2 expression. STAR addresses some of the shortcomings of existing Golden Gate or solid-phase assembly protocols and enables routine production of TALE-TFs that will complement emerging CRISPR/Cas9-based reagents across diverse applications in mammalian stem cell and synthetic biology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33209
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Early online date12 Sep 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sep 2016


  • DNA


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