Engineering Bacteria: Biopolymers & Vaccines

Biopolymers: Alginates

Alginate is composed of two different monosaccharides (sugars) mannuronic acid and guluronic acid. The ratios of these two sugars affects the properties of the polymer. In general, a calcium alginate gel with a higher M:G ration will be fluid and flexible, while that with a higher G:M ration will be less fluid and stiffer. Typically, 25-30% of the M sugars are acetylation sites. The addition of the acetyl groups allows the alginate to absorb more water. Bacterial alginate with 25% of M sugars acetylated absorbs 10-25X more water than seaweed alginate with the same M:G ratio.

Producing alginate in bacteria provides that opportunity to use bioengineering to create unique alginates not found in seaweed. Progenesis is using genetic techniques to modify the enzymes involved in alginate production to allow synthesis of polymers with a much broader range of characteristics. We anticipate that gels formed by these polymers will have enhanced favorable properties for a variety applications such as tissue engineering where absorbancy, tensil strength and conjugates of bioactive molecules are able to be tailored to each medical application.

Breakthrough Vaccines :

Longer acting and Universal against Serotypes

We use of a genetic engineering approach to developing a vaccine that removes a genes required for the O antigen biosynthesis from the bacterial chromosome. The deletions of this render the synthesis of O polysaccharides severely compromised, thus allowing the immune cells to have better chances to target the bacterial protein antigens.

Let’s build something together.

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