Main content area

Engineering Microbial Living Therapeutics: The Synthetic Biology Toolbox

Pedrolli, Danielle B., Ribeiro, Nathan V., Squizato, Patrick N., de Jesus, Victor N., Cozetto, Daniel A., Tuma, Rafael B., Gracindo, Amanda, Cesar, Mariana B., Freire, Paulo J.C., da Costa, Ana F.M., Lins, Milca R.C.R., Correa, Graciely G., Cerri, Marcel O.
Trends in biotechnology 2019 v.37 no.1 pp. 100-115
biocontainment, metabolic diseases, microorganisms, neoplasms, synthetic biology, therapeutics
Microbes can be engineered to act like living therapeutics designed to perform specific actions in the human body. From fighting and preventing infections to eliminating tumors and treating metabolic disorders, engineered living systems are the next generation of therapeutics. In recent years, synthetic biologists have greatly expanded the genetic toolbox for microbial living therapeutics, adding sensors, regulators, memory circuits, delivery devices, and kill switches. These advances have paved the way for successful engineering of fully functional living therapeutics, with sensing, production, and biocontainment devices. However, some important tools are still missing from the box. In this review, we cover the most recent biological parts and approaches developed and describe the missing tools needed to build robust living therapeutics.