A molecular toolkit for heterologous protein secretion of Bacteroides species
Abstract: Bacteroides species, one of the most abundant and prevalent bacterial populations in the human gut, are capable of long-term, stable colonization of the gastrointestinal tract, making them a promising chassis for developing long-term treatment and prevention for chronic diseases. However, a lack of efficient heterologous protein secretion tools prevents their use as engineered, on-site delivery vehicles for protein-based biologic drugs or disease-responsive reporters. Here, we report a group of lipoprotein signal peptides and full-length proteins that can be used as secretion carriers to secrete functional antibody fragments and reporter proteins from multiple Bacteroides species at high titers. We characterized a number of features of our secretion carriers in vitro and validated their activity in vivo. This toolkit expands the potential therapeutic impact of stably-colonizing commensal bacterial strains, enabling them to deliver protein-based therapeutics from within the gut over long periods of time, which may support more effective treatment strategies for chronic gastrointestinal diseases.
Bio: I have earned my bachelor’s degree in life science (2017) and master’s degree (2019) in genomic science from National Yang-Ming University in Taiwan. I started my PhD study from 2021 in the Department of Bioengineering at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I am now a 3rd-year PhD student in Dr. Shannon Sirk’s lab, working on engineering gut commensal microbes as therapeutics. My research interest is synthetic biology, including bacterial therapeutics, protein engineering, synthetic gene circuit design, cell therapy, and biotechnology development.