472556 Tunable Expression and Display of Proteins on Bacterial Spore Surface

Tuesday, November 15, 2016: 9:06 AM
Continental 7 (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Erin Drufva and Kang Wu, Chemical Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

Bacteria endospores are the most robust and durable type of cells found in nature, attributed to the multiple layers of proteins that encase the spore and form a protective shield. Studies have shown that a few proteins on the outmost layer of the spore can be used as anchors to display proteins. Compared with soluble proteins or proteins displayed on other platforms such as cell surface, spore surface display of proteins offer a few advantages. First, spores are highly robust systems and can survive various extreme environments, such as extreme heat or cold, toxic chemicals, and radiations. Proteins displayed on the spore surface can be also protected from the harsh environments. Second, these proteins are part of the spore and can be easily produced through sporulation. No further purification is needed and this significantly reduces the production costs. Third, for enzymes used in industrial processes, spore based enzymes can be reused as they are part of the spore and easy to separate from the reaction mixture. Moreover, the worn enzymes on the spore can be re-generated through a germination-sporulation cycle. Altogether spores are an attractive platform for protein display. However, the assembly of spores is a delicate and complex system. Currently protein display on spore surface relies on a few anchor proteins and the expressions of them are all under native regulatory elements. No expression system is available to display multiple enzymes and modulate their expression level in response to external signals. In this work, we designed tunable expression systems that integrate the regulatory elements for tight sporulation control of a few anchor proteins and binding sites for non-sporulation transcription factors including LacI and TetR. Using GFP and mCherry as reporters, it was shown that the designed systems allow for functional expression and display of heterologous proteins in the range of 0.2 to 15 times of those subject to the native regulatory control. The development of the tunable expression and display systems enable the fine tuning of the display of multiple proteins on the spore surface, which is critical to investigate the synergy between proteins and optimize the overall efficiency.

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