Scientists Find New Methods to Control Bacterial Factories for Biotech Aims
by Igor Houwat and Andrew Hagen (Michigan State University) The lab of Cheryl Kerfeld has announced a breakthrough in manipulating miniature factories, found in bacteria, that hold much promise in the biotech field.
The factories, called expand iconbacterial microcompartments, are widespread in nature and do different things depending on the host. For example, in expand iconcyanobacteria which harvest energy from the sun, they help to construct high energy compounds. In our own guts, pathogenic bacteria use the factories – because the processes they perform are inefficient outside of them and sometimes use toxic materials – to outcompete our “good” bacteria.
Scientists want to retrofit the factories with new machines to perform designed functions. The synthetic versions could sustainably make biofuels, industrial materials, and nanoscale medical devices.
In a new Nature Communications publication, the MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab team announces new methods to manipulate factories:
Complementation-based Affinity Purification (CAP): which quickly screens for the assembly and extraction of the factories
Encapsulation via Covalent-linkage (EnCo): which helps to predictably insert custom machinery in the factories READ MORE Abstract (Nature Communications)