Uncovering assembly principles of a multiprotein microcompartment for biotechnology and biomedicine applications.

Stefanie Frank (primary)
Department of Biochemical Engineering
Renos Savva (secondary)
Department of Biological Sciences
Birkbeck (ISMB)


The primary project driver is the nature-inspired design and construction of synthetic protein compartments, based on naturally existing bacterial organelles, as novel systems for biotechnology applications. Key to de novo design is (1) in-depth understanding of how natural multiprotein complexes are assembled and functionally diversified, (2) robust self-assembly and protein encapsulation, and (3) modularity of the components. We will build on our expertise in generating recombinant versions of well-studied bacterial microcompartments to assemble and obtain structural-functional understanding of a recently discovered BMC to address (1) and expand our toolbox for the engineering of synthetic BMCs with desired properties for (2)(3).


1. Planamente, S., & Frank, S. (2019). Bio-engineering of bacterial microcompartments: a mini review. Biochemical Society Transactions, 47(3), 765-777.
2. Ferlez, B., Sutter, M., & Kerfeld, C. A. (2019). Glycyl Radical Enzyme-Associated Microcompartments: Redox-Replete Bacterial Organelles. mBio, 10(1), e02327-18.
3. Jameson, E., Fu, T., Brown, I. R., Paszkiewicz, K., Purdy, K. J., Frank, S., & Chen, Y. (2016). Anaerobic choline metabolism in microcompartments promotes growth and swarming of P roteus mirabilis. Environmental microbiology, 18(9), 2886-2898.
4. Kalnins, G., Cesle, E. E., Jansons, J., Liepins, J., Filimonenko, A., & Tars, K. (2020). Encapsulation mechanisms and structural studies of GRM2 bacterial microcompartment particles. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-13.
5. Cesle, E. E., Filimonenko, A., Tars, K., & Kalnins, G. (2021). Variety of size and form of GRM2 bacterial microcompartment particles. Protein Science, 30(5), 1035-1043.

Genes, development and STEM* approaches to biology
Area of Biology
BiotechnologyStructural Biology
Techniques & Approaches
BiochemistryBioinformaticsBiophysicsGeneticsImage ProcessingMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologyMolecular BiologySimulation / Modelling