Expanding the genetic programmability of Lactiplantibacillus plantarum

Lactobacilli are ubiquitous in nature and symbiotically provide health benefits for countless organisms including humans, animals and plants. They are vital for the fermented food industry and are being extensively explored for healthcare applications. For all these reasons, there is considerable interest in enhancing and controlling their capabilities through the engineering of genetic modules and circuits. One of the most robust and reliable microbial chassis for these synthetic biology applications is the widely used Lactiplantibacillus plantarum species. However, the genetic toolkit needed to advance its applicability remains poorly equipped. This mini-review highlights the genetic parts that have been discovered to achieve food-grade recombinant protein production and speculates on lessons learned from these studies for L. plantarum engineering. Furthermore, strategies to identify, create and optimize genetic parts for real-time regulation of gene expression and enhancement of biosafety are also suggested.