Organizing multi-enzyme systems into programmable materials for biocatalysis

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Significant advances in enzyme discovery, protein and reaction engineering have trans-formed biocatalysis into a viable technology for the industrial scale manufacturing of chemicals. Multi-enzyme catalysis has emerged as a new frontier for the synthesis of complex chemicals. How-ever, the in vitro operation of multiple enzymes simultaneously in one vessel poses challenges that require new strategies for increasing the operational performance of enzymatic cascade reactions. Chief among those strategies is enzyme co-immobilization. This review will explore how advances in synthetic biology and protein engineering have led to bioinspired co-localization strategies for the scaffolding and compartmentalization of enzymes. Emphasis will be placed on genetically en-coded co-localization mechanisms as platforms for future autonomously self-organizing biocatalytic systems. Such genetically programmable systems could be produced by cell factories or emerging cell-free systems. Challenges and opportunities towards self-assembling, multifunctional biocatalytic materials will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number409
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 24 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research on the development of self-assembling protein materials in the Schmidt-Dannert Laboratory has been supported by Defense Threat Reduction Agency Grant HDTRA-15-0004, and is currently supported by: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Contract HR0011-17-0038, National Science Foundation CBET-1916030, MnDRIVE and the University of Minnesota’s Biocatalysis Initiative through the BioTechnology Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Advanced materials
  • Biocatalysis
  • Biomanufacturing
  • Biomaterials
  • Cascade reaction
  • Cell-free systems
  • Immobi-lization
  • Multi-enzyme
  • Synthetic biology


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