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Synthetic Lipid-Containing Scaffolds Enhance Production by Colocalizing Enzymes

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posted on 03.08.2016, 12:49 by Cameron Myhrvold, Jessica K. Polka, Pamela A. Silver
Subcellular organization is critical for isolating, concentrating, and protecting biological activities. Natural subcellular organization is often achieved using colocalization of proteins on scaffold molecules, thereby enhancing metabolic fluxes and enabling coregulation. Synthetic scaffolds extend these benefits to new biological processes and are typically constructed from proteins or nucleic acids. To expand the range of available building materials, we use a minimal set of components from the lipid-encapsulated bacteriophage ϕ6 to form synthetic lipid-containing scaffolds (SLSs) in E. coli. Analysis of diffusive behavior by particle tracking in live cells indicates that SLSs are >20 nm in diameter; furthermore, density measurements demonstrate that SLSs contain a mixture of lipids and proteins. The fluorescent proteins mCitrine and mCerulean can be colocalized to SLSs. To test for effects on enzymatic production, we localized two enzymes involved in indigo biosynthesis to SLSs. We observed a scaffold-dependent increase in indigo production, showing that SLSs can enhance the production of a commercially relevant metabolite.