Repository logo

Microbial gas vesicles as nanotechnology tools: exploiting intracellular organelles for translational utility in biotechnology, medicine and the environment

Published version

Change log


Abstract: A range of bacteria and archaea produce gas vesicles as a means to facilitate flotation. These gas vesicles have been purified from a number of species and their applications in biotechnology and medicine are reviewed here. Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 gas vesicles have been engineered to display antigens from eukaryotic, bacterial and viral pathogens. The ability of these recombinant nanoparticles to generate an immune response has been quantified both in vitro and in vivo. These gas vesicles along with those purified from Anabaena flos-aquae and Bacillus megaterium have been developed as an acoustic reporter system. This system utilizes the ability of gas vesicles to retain gas within a stable, rigid structure to produce contrast upon exposure to ultrasound. The susceptibility of gas vesicles to collapse when exposed to excess pressure has also been proposed as a biocontrol mechanism to disperse cyanobacterial blooms providing an environmental function for these structures.



cyanobacterial blooms, gas vesicles, magnetic resonance imaging, nanotechnology, recombinant vaccines, Animals, Bacillus megaterium, Biotechnology, Environment, Gases, Halobacterium, Humans, Medicine, Nanotechnology, Organelles

Journal Title


Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Society for General Microbiology
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/K001833/1)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/N008081/1)
Funding information: Work in the Salmond lab was generously supported by the BBSRC, UK (awards BB/K001833/1 and BB/N008081/1). Amy Hill was funded by an award from the Woolf Fisher Trust.