Recent advances in synthetic biology of cyanobacteria

Annesha Sengupta, Himadri B. Pakrasi, Pramod P. Wangikar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Cyanobacteria are attractive hosts that can be engineered for the photosynthetic production of fuels, fine chemicals, and proteins from CO 2 . Moreover, the responsiveness of these photoautotrophs towards different environmental signals, such as light, CO 2 , diurnal cycle, and metals make them potential hosts for the development of biosensors. However, engineering these hosts proves to be a challenging and lengthy process. Synthetic biology can make the process of biological engineering more predictable through the use of standardized biological parts that are well characterized and tools to assemble them. While significant progress has been made with model heterotrophic organisms, many of the parts and tools are not portable in cyanobacteria. Therefore, efforts are underway to develop and characterize parts derived from cyanobacteria. In this review, we discuss the reported parts and tools with the objective to develop cyanobacteria as cell factories or biosensors. We also discuss the issues related to characterization, tunability, portability, and the need to develop enabling technologies to engineer this “green” chassis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5457-5471
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Biosensors
  • Modularity
  • Portability
  • Standardized parts
  • Synthetic biology
  • Tunability


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