Encapsulins are virus-like metabolic compartments from bacteria. Sigmund et al. demonstrated the versatile nanotechnological applications of encapsulins in a recent report in Nature Communications. They demonstrate how encapsulins can be expressed as functional nanocompartments in mammalian cells. The encapsulins are capable of targeted cargo encapsulation, allowing for the in situ construction of synthetic metabolic compartments, protective storage capsules and imaging labels.

Working with the Heck lab at Utrecht University, Snijder Bioscience contributed to the report by estimating the cargo load of encapsulins with native mass spectrometry, revealing that the nanocompartments can package between 60 and 100 copies of their cargo protein.