Bacterial microcompartment

organelle-like structure in bacteria with a protein shell containing enzymes

A bacterial microcompartment is a structure inside bacteria. They are made of a protein shell which surrounds and encloses various enzymes.[1] They are similar to eukaryotic cell organelles, but do not have plasma membranes. They do not contain lipids.[2]

These compartments are typically about 100-200 nanometres across and made of interlocking proteins.[3]

Protein-enclosed compartments are also found in eukaryotes, such as enzyme encapsulation.[4]


  1. Bobik T.A. (2007). "Bacterial microcompartments" (PDF). Microbe. Am Soc Microbiol. 2: 25–31. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-08-02. Retrieved 2011-01-06.
  2. Sutter M, Boehringer D, Gutmann S; et al. (August 2008). "Structural basis of enzyme encapsulation into a bacterial nanocompartment". Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 15: 939–947. doi:10.1038/nsmb.1473. PMID 18758469.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. Yeates TO, Kerfeld CA, Heinhorst S, Cannon GC, Shively JM (August 2008). "Protein-based organelles in bacteria: carboxysomes and related microcompartments". Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 6 (9): 681–691. doi:10.1038/nrmicro1913. PMID 18679172.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. Kedersha NL, Miquel MC, Bittner D, Rome LH (1990). "Vaults. II. Ribonucleoprotein structures are highly conserved among higher and lower eukaryotes". J Cell Biol. 110 (4): 895–901. doi:10.1083/jcb.110.4.895. PMC 2116106. PMID 1691193.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)