The Role of Protein Engineering in Biomedical Applications of Mammalian Synthetic Biology

After engaging in a lot of protein engineering for my PhD projects in mammalian synthetic biology, I decided to write a review about the current state of the field, especially with respect to biomedical applications. If synthetic biology is the endeavor to predictively influence cell function, then you need a lot of tools for that.

Let’s take the example of a modified human cell which is supposed to sense an elevated biomarker and produce a therapeutic protein in response. For that, you typically need an engineered receptor protein to sense the biomarker, at least one engineered or repurposed signaling protein to relay the signal, and most often your therapeutic output protein itself is engineered as well!

Especially for multifunctional proteins, protein engineering is still kind of a hit-and-miss thing. Which can be an issue if you need highly functional and reliable proteins in your genetic designs! Therefore, we reviewed the current state of the field of protein engineering in the space of mammalian cells. For this, we looked at both what the current modalities of protein engineering are but also what people are doing with it at the moment, from sophisticated therapeutics to whole cell-based therapies. So read the review for a plethora of fascinating stories in the realm of mammalian synthetic biology!

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