Synthetic Lipid-Containing Scaffolds Enhance Production by Colocalizing Enzymes

Cameron Myhrvold, Jessica K. Polka, Pamela A. Silver

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

38 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1396-1403
Number of pages8
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 16 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • bacteriophage ϕ6
  • metabolic engineering
  • protein fusions
  • scaffolds
  • subcellular organization


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