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Sugar-coated vesicles prove effective in laboratory tests on deadly pathogens

Updated: May 10

Laboratory engineered glycoconjugate vaccines prove to be broadly anti-bacterial

A broad range of bacterial, fungal, and protozoan cells produce the surface polysaccharide poly-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (PNAG). The observation that PNAG is broadly distributed among different microbes has led to the suggestion that numerous important human and animal pathogens could be targeted for vaccination using this single antigen. While traditional conjugate vaccines involving surface polysaccharides, such as PNAG, are a proven strategy for reducing the incidence of disease caused by bacterial pathogens, their manufacture is technically demanding, inefficient, and expensive, thereby limiting their widespread adoption. In this study, Taylor Stephenson, Ty Moeller and Kevin Weyant of the DeLisa Group teamed up to describe an alternative route to producing PNAG-containing glycoconjugates, whereby recombinant PNAG biosynthesis is coordinated with outer membrane vesicle (OMV) formation in nonpathogenic Escherichia coli strains. The resulting glycosylated OMVs effectively deliver PNAG antigens to the immune system while bypassing many of the drawbacks of conventional conjugate vaccines.

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Robert F. Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University

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