The imminent role of protein engineering in synthetic biology

Biotechnol Adv. 2012 May-Jun;30(3):541-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.09.008. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Protein engineering has for decades been a powerful tool in biotechnology for generating vast numbers of useful enzymes for industrial applications. Today, protein engineering has a crucial role in advancing the emerging field of synthetic biology, where metabolic engineering efforts alone are insufficient to maximize the full potential of synthetic biology. This article reviews the advancements in protein engineering techniques for improving biocatalytic properties to optimize engineered pathways in host systems, which are instrumental to achieve high titer production of target molecules. We also discuss the specific means by which protein engineering has improved metabolic engineering efforts and provide our assessment on its potential to continue to advance biology engineering as a whole.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biocatalysis
  • Enzymes / chemistry*
  • Enzymes / genetics
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Engineering / methods*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Engineering / methods*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Synthetic Biology / methods*


  • Enzymes