Computational Modeling and Evolutionary Implications of Biochemical Reactions in Bacterial Microcompartments

Clair Huffline, Lucas Wheeler, Boswell Wing, Jeffrey Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are protein-encapsulated compartments found across at least 23 bacterial phyla. BMCs contain a variety of metabolic processes that share the commonality of toxic or volatile intermediates, oxygen-sensitive enzymes and cofactors, or increased substrate concentration for magnified reaction rates. These compartmentalized reactions have been computationally modeled to explore the encapsulated dynamics, ask evolutionary-based questions, and develop a more systematic understanding required for the engineering of novel BMCs. Many crucial aspects of these systems remain unknown or unmeasured, such as substrate permeabilities across the protein shell, feasibility of pH gradients, and transport rates of associated substrates into the cell. This review explores existing BMC models, dominated in the literature by cyanobacterial carboxysomes, and highlights potentially important areas for exploration.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-81500


  • bacterial microcompartments
  • BMC
  • computational modeling
  • oxygen sensitivity


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