Dec 3, 2018

Engineering Brain Parasites for Intracellular Delivery of Therapeutic Proteins

bioRxiv
Shahar BrachaOded Rechavi

Abstract

Protein therapy has the potential to alleviate many neurological diseases; however, delivery mechanisms for the central nervous system (CNS) are limited, and intracellular delivery poses additional hurdles. To address these challenges, we harnessed the protist parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can migrate into the CNS and secrete proteins into cells. Using a fusion protein approach, we engineered T. gondii to secrete therapeutic proteins for human neurological disorders. We tested two secretion systems, generated fusion proteins that localized to the secretory organelles of T. gondii and assessed their intracellular targeting in various mammalian cells including neurons. We show that T. gondii expressing GRA16 fused to the Rett syndrome protein MeCP2 deliver a fusion protein that mimics the endogenous MeCP2, binding heterochromatic DNA in neurons. This demonstrates the potential of T. gondii as a therapeutic protein vector, which could provide either transient or chronic, in situ synthesis and delivery of intracellular proteins to the CNS.

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Mentioned in this Paper

MECP2 wt Allele
Therapeutic protein
Methyl-CpG-Binding Protein 2
Protoplasm
Neurons
Brain
Toxoplasma gondii
Process of Secretion
MECP2 gene
Birth

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