Common bacteria modified to make a drug based on sugar

Common bacteria modified to make a drug based on sugar

IMAGE: E. coli has been reprogrammed to produce chondroitin sulfate, a complex sugar. view more

Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

TROY, NY – By imagining an animal-free drug supply, scientists – for the first time – reprogrammed a common bacteria to create an engineered polysaccharide molecule used in pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals. Posted today in Nature Communications, researchers modified E. coli to produce chondroitin sulfate, a drug best known as a dietary supplement to treat arthritis that currently originates in the trachea of ​​cows.

Genetically modified E. coli is used to make a long list of medicinal proteins, but it has taken years to persuade bacteria to produce even the simplest of this class of linked sugar molecules – called sulfated glycosaminoglycans – which are often used as drugs and nutraceuticals. .

“It’s an E. coli engineering challenge to produce these molecules, and we had to make a lot of changes and balance those changes for the bacteria to grow well,” said Mattheos Koffas, senior researcher and professor of chemical engineering. and organic at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “But this…

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