Utilization of bacterial microcompartment in biotechnology applications
The optimization of biological processes through compartmentalization is a strategy found throughout the biological world. On the cellular level, organelles act as compartments that allow spatial and temporal control of biochemical reactions, as well as provide controlled microenvironments for these reactions. Bacteria lack the traditional membrane enclosed organelles associated with eukaryotes. However, recent studies found that many bacterial species utilize protein-based microcompartments (MCPs) as organelles for the optimization of metabolic processes.
Bacterial MCPs enhance reaction rates by creating high local concentrations of enzymes and substrates, confinement of pathway intermediates that are toxic or readily lost by evaporation, and use of private cofactor pools as well as minimization of side reactions.
Chowdhury lab is interested to utilize MCPs as design templates for the engineering of subcellular nanobioreactors that can be customized to support new metabolic functions.