Engineering microbial consortia with rationally designed cellular interactions

Heather S. Deter, Ting Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Synthetic microbial consortia represent a frontier of synthetic biology that promises versatile engineering of cellular functions. They are primarily developed through the design and construction of cellular interactions that coordinate individual dynamics and generate collective behaviors. Here we review recent advances in the engineering of synthetic communities through cellular-interaction programming. We first examine fundamental building blocks for intercellular communication and unidirectional positive and negative interactions. We then recap the assembly of the building blocks for creating bidirectional interactions in two-species ecosystems, which is followed by the discussion of engineering toward complex communities with increasing species numbers, under spatial contexts, and via model-guided design. We conclude by summarizing major challenges and future opportunities of engineered microbial ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102730
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
StatePublished - Aug 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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