Category Archives: paper blogs

Structure and Biochemistry of a bacterial microcompartment enzyme

Looking at enzyme encapsulation and why it matters in bacteria

Bacterial microcompartments are small protein structures that encapsulate various enzymes and substrates. This blog will look at our lab’s recent paper on an enzyme from a bacterial microcompartment, what we learned from it and where to take this research next.

Before discussing why bacterial cells need microcompartments, or even what they are, let’s look at why cells would need to compartmentalise themselves at all. All cell types across all kingdoms of life have some internal structure and capacity for sorting their contents. Cells package their DNA, enzymes for metabolism and chemicals into discreet compartments, with the purpose of making the cell more efficient and protecting it from toxic chemicals produced by the reactions happening inside. Bacterial cells do this via bacterial microcompartments (BMCs), which are protein shells that self-assemble and compartmentalise enzymes and their substrates in a wide range of different bacteria, from gut microbes to bacteria found in the soil and sea. Continue reading