The gene signal amplifier developed by bioscientists at Rice University excels at detecting the expression of target genes and can also be used to detect potentially any cellular gene. The amplifier is linked to a cell’s chromosome and directly reports on the activity of a gene by expressing fluorescent proteins (GFP). When the gene is not active, the amplifier expresses negative regulators that quench GFP by operating at different hierarchical levels of cellular information flow. EKRAB is a transcriptional repressor and NanoDeg is a post-translational regulator. When the gene is active, tTA produces GFP and blocks expression of the negative regulators. (Credit: Segatori Research Group/Rice University)

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