A large proportion of the recombinant proteins manufactured today rely on microbe-based expression systems owing to their relatively simple and cost-effective production schemes. However, several issues in microbial protein expression, including formation of insoluble aggregates, low protein yield, and cell death are still highly recursive and tricky to optimize. These obstacles are usually rooted in the metabolic capacity of the expression host, limitation of cellular translational machineries, or genetic instability. To this end, several microbial strains having precisely designed genomes have been suggested as a way around the recurrent problems in recombinant protein expression. Already, a growing number of prokaryotic chassis strains have been genome-streamlined to attain superior cellular fitness, recombinant protein yield, and stability of the exogenous expression pathways. In this review, we outline challenges associated with heterologous protein expression, some examples of microbial chassis engineered for the production of recombinant proteins, and emerging tools to optimize the expression of heterologous proteins. In particular, we discuss the synthetic biology approaches to design and build and test genome-reduced microbial chassis that carry desirable characteristics for heterologous protein expression.
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