Abstract

Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are protein-bound prokaryotic organelles, discovered in cyanobacteria more than 60 years ago. Functionally similar to eukaryotic cellular organelles, BMCs compartment metabolic activities in the cytoplasm, foremost to increase local enzyme concentration and prevent toxic intermediates from damaging the cytosolic content. Advanced knowledge of the functional and structural properties of multiple types of BMCs, particularly over the last 10 years, have highlighted design principles of microcompartments. This has prompted new research into their potential to function as programmable synthetic nano-bioreactors and novel bio-materials with biotechnological and medical applications. Moreover, due to the involvement of microcompartments in bacterial pathogenesis and human health, BMCs have begun to gain attention as potential novel drug targets. This mini-review gives an overview of important synthetic biology developments in the bioengineering of BMCs and a perspective on future directions in the field.

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