Our new research highlight: A Whole Cell E. coli Display Platform for Artificial Metalloenzymes


Congratulations to Alexander Grimm on his recent research highlight publication

Photo of Alexander Grimm Copyright: © Bio VI

In Alex` new publication, the first bacterial cell surface display-based whole cell biohybrid catalyst, termed ArMt bugs, was generated, characterized and applied to the stereoselective polymerization of phenylacetylene. Whole cell catalysis is very important for the cost-effective production of chemicals by biotechnological means. Despite the promising application of whole cells to biohybrid catalysis, researchers all over the world have been stumped by the inactivation of valuable synthetic metal catalysts within cells due to abundant thiols.

  Function principle of the whole cell catalyst Copyright: © Bio VI

The authors therefore armed the surface of their Escherichia coli whole cells with rhodium-nitrobindin biohybrid catalysts via an esterase-based autotransporter to separate the catalysts from inhibiting cellular compounds. A high turnover number of 39,000,000 per cell in the polymerization of phenylacetylene and potential applications in directed evolution and high-throughput screening make the ArMt bugs an attractive platform for bioorthogonal reactions. This work was made possible through funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung.

To learn more, please access the full paper on Publications and patents and

Grimm, A.R., Sauer, D.F., Polen, T., Zhu, L., Hayashi T., Okuda J., Schwaneberg, U. (2018). A whole cell E. coli display platform for artificial metalloenzymes: polyphenylacetylene production with a rhodium-nitrobindin metalloprotein. ACS Catal., first published online Feb 16 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b04369.