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In short

Our goal was to create an intracellular protein delivery platform, as efficient as accurate. Such tool could have the whole variety of applications ranging from scientific research to prevention or therapy of disease. In our attempt to achieve that goal, Escherichia coli K12 laboratory strain was equipped with molecular machinery enabling successful mammalian cell entry. This is how BactoDHL was born.

The bacterium attaches to the outer membrane of a mammalian cell by means of invasin also responsible for ingestion into a forming endosome. There, aided by lysteryolisyn, it escapes entrapment and rests in the cytosol, ready to provide the host cell with the protein it harbours.

Look around!

We strongly encourage you to get familiar with the background of BactoDHL and steps of it's design. Please visit results and gallery of microphotographs to find out how it behaves in living cells.

Safety concern

Apart from BactoDHL, a synthetic biology creation, there are many different protein delivery systems derived from naturally-invasive, attenuated pathogens like Salmonella ssp. and Listeria ssp., which seem to show great potential. There are three main reasons why the makers of BactoDHL decided to create a new invasive microorganism instead of following the alternative path mentioned above:

First and foremost the laboratory E. coli strain chosen cannot successfully thrive in the cytoplasm of a mammalian cell.

Secondly the this strain of E. coli has no natural competence, so there is no risk of it picking up pathogenic genes from the environment.

Thirdly the bacterium will be equipped with a kill switch in the form of a MinC, a protein that acts upon the cytoskeleton and prevents proliferation.