Bacterial Microcompartment (BMC)
Bacterial microcompartments are tiny protein-assembled compartments which have been newly discovered in many bacteria strains, such as the carboxysome in cyanobacteria. Their existence in cells enables bacteria to compact certain reactions within small defined space such that the enzyme efficiency can be increased due to folded substrate concentration. Also, generated mediates from toxic reactions can be separated from the rest of cell contents. The Pdu microcompartment, which was originally found in Salmonella enterica and Citrobactor freundii, encloses metabolisms that utilize propanediol as a carbon source. Literature and former USTC iGEM 2010 team showed that empty microcompartments can be successfully assembled in E. coli and certain genes are thought to be able to direct proteins to the outer or inner surfaces of the microcompartments. Based on these findings, the UW-Madison 2011 iGEM team believe that BMC has the potential to dramatically improve bacteria production and sensing efficiency and can be further remodeled to conduct new functions. So far we are trying to assemble pdu microcompartments in E.coli, characterize their assembly rates, and make E.coli produce biofuels and their fatty acid precursors.