Open Access Open Badges Research article

Computational genes: a tool for molecular diagnosis and therapy of aberrant mutational phenotype

Israel M Martínez-Pérez1*, Gong Zhang2, Zoya Ignatova2 and Karl-Heinz Zimmermann1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Computer Technology, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg 21073, Germany

2 Cellular Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried 82152, Germany

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BMC Bioinformatics 2007, 8:365  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-8-365

Published: 28 September 2007



A finite state machine manipulating information-carrying DNA strands can be used to perform autonomous molecular-scale computations at the cellular level.


We propose a new finite state machine able to detect and correct aberrant molecular phenotype given by mutated genetic transcripts. The aberrant mutations trigger a cascade reaction: specific molecular markers as input are released and induce a spontaneous self-assembly of a wild type protein or peptide, while the mutational disease phenotype is silenced. We experimentally demostrated in in vitro translation system that a viable protein can be autonomously assembled.


Our work demostrates the basic principles of computational genes and particularly, their potential to detect mutations, and as a response thereafter administer an output that suppresses the aberrant disease phenotype and/or restores the lost physiological function.