Engineering Controllable Pulse Generation for Molecular Communication via Genetic Circuits

Dadi Bi, Yansha Deng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Synthetic biology provides the engineering community with a tool to build biological entities that are capable of carrying out desired signal processing functionalities. The design and study of genetic circuits that exhibit natural behavior can be helpful for an improved understanding of the principles and kinetics behind the gene expression behavior, as well as for engineering cellular systems for synthetic biology. In this paper, we propose a synthetic biology system capable of generating a pulse-shaped signal, which is a prevalent behavior in natural environment. In particular, our proposed pulse generation system divides the pulse generation functions into different cells which are connected by intercellular signaling molecules. More specifically, the system is consisted of three engineered cells with different digital logic functionalities, and the pulse generation exploits the alteration in logic state. To quantitatively describe the generated pulse, we not only analyze the individual behavior of each cell using Shea-Ackers formalism but also derive the intercellular signaling channel. Simulation results demonstrate that the pulse-shaped signal can be produced in a controllable manner by arranging cells in different spatial configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Feb 2023


  • Digital logic circuits
  • gene expression
  • genetic circuits
  • molecular communication
  • pulse generation
  • synthetic biology


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