Refactoring bacteriophage as repurposed nanomachines


Bacteriophages are natural nanomachines, efficiently delivering DNA payloads into bacterial cells. Phage such as lambda are also general cloning vehicles, in which recombinant cargoes are packaged and delivered via natural virulence mechanisms. The targeting mechanisms of phages have been shown to be genetically malleable enough to target new cell surface proteins on their natural host[1]. Alternate strains of a given microbe can be accessed by the same phage machinery via engineering of the receptor binding protein[2,3]. The natural mechanism could in principle therefore be engineered to deliver a variety of synthetic payloads to a diverse range of target cell types.


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Dupont, K., et al. (2004) Identification of the Receptor-Binding Protein in 936-Species Lactococcal Bacteriophages. doi: 10.1128/AEM.70.10.5818-5824.2004


Le, S., et al. (2013) Mapping the Tail Fiber as the Receptor Binding Protein Responsible for Differential Host Specificity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Bacteriophages PaP1 and JG004. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068562


Chatterjee, S. and Rothenberg, E. (2012) Interaction of Bacteriophage λ with Its E. coli Receptor, LamB. doi:10.3390/v4113162


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Biological Areas:



Molecules, cells and industrial biotechnology