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Bacterial synthetic biology is a scientific discipline that deals with the synthesis of part, or the whole, of bacteria that do not exist in nature in this form. It uses engineering and molecular biology tools.
N-acetyl-muramic acid (NAM) is a core component of the bacterial peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall, and is recognised by the innate immune system. Here the authors engineer Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria to incorporate a modified NAM into the backbone of PG, which can be labelled with click chemistry for imaging and tracking.
Cellulosomes are sophisticated multicomponent complexes that are used by bacteria to degrade cellulose from plant cell walls. In this review, Artzi, Bayer and Moraïs explore the structural and functional diversity of cellulosomes and their applications; for example, in microbial biofuel production.
Co-culture of bacterial cells engineered with quorum-sensing and self-lysis circuits allows coupled oscillatory dynamics and stable states, opening the way to engineered microbial ecosystems with targeted dynamics and extending gene circuits to the ecosystem level.