Programming E. coli synthetic adhesion

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Carlos Piñero, Gustavo Bodeln, David Ruano, Luis Angel Fernandez

Centro Nacional de Biotecnologa, Spain

Here we report the design of synthetic adhesins for E. coli that allow an effective and controlled adhesion of bacteria to antigenic surfaces and specific cells in vitro and in vivo. The synthetic adhesins have a modular structure composed by an adhesive immunoglobulin domain of defined specificity and an outer membrane anchoring domain obtained from a engineered member of the the Type V secretion system (T5SS). We have generated synthetic adhesins against different antigen targets, expressed them stably and constitutively from the chromosome of E. coli, and demonstrate that bacteria carrying them show specific adhesion to abiotic surfaces coated with the cognate antigen and to mammaliam cells expressing the corresponding antigen on their surface. We have shown the potential of the synthetic adhesins for targeting E. coli to specific cell types (infected and tumor cells) using in vitro and in vivo models.