The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing new nuclear-protein-delivery materials for more efficient cellular reprogramming that, because it doesn’t require genetic modification, is more acceptable to regulatory agencies. These reprogrammed cells can be used in regenerative therapy for genetic, metabolic and degenerative disorders. It has been known for several years that it’s possible to reprogram the nucleus of both differentiated and undifferentiated cells by expressing exogenous transcription factors. However, introduction of additional genetic material into the cells being reprogrammed can lead to genetic instability and formation of cancerous cells. To circumvent issues associated with the use of DNA or RNA to reprogram cells, researchers at the University of Florida have taken advantage of a bacterial system to introduce nuclear proteins directly into the host cells. These specific bacteria have been engineered to eliminate toxicity toward the host cell while maintaining the ability to efficiently inject proteins, such as transcription factors, into mammalian cells. Following protein delivery and cell reprogramming, antibiotics are used for easy and efficient elimination of bacteria from host cells. This technology promises to be much more efficient than alternative methods and also more acceptable to regulatory agencies because there are no genetic modifications of the reprogrammed cells.
Regenerative therapy for genetic, metabolic and degenerative disorders
- Delivers proteins directly into cells without use of genetic material, eliminating risk of genetic mutation
- Does not require genetic modification, making it more acceptable to regulatory agencies
- Provides a highly efficient system, delivering proteins to 100 percent of target cells in a short time period
Allows for easy removal of non-toxic bacterial cells from host cells, rendering treatment safe
A modified Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III secretion system (T3SS) has been developed that efficiently delivers selected proteins into a host cell. Several gram-negative bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, possess a structure identified as the T3SS, a naturally occurring protein-delivery mechanism. Bacterial proteins are injected directly into the cytoplasmic compartments of the host cells. This technology offers a highly effective system for delivering proteins into eukaryotic cells, introducing reprogramming factors directly into a host cell through a needle-like structure on the bacterial surface.