Professor Birgitta Henriques-Normark, at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology has been awarded SEK 35 000 000 with the project ”Bacterial exosomes and their nano-mimics as vaccine”
The project aims at using novel technological approaches to develop nano-vaccines against Gram-positive infections with a focus on infections caused by pneumococci, Group A streptococci and Staphylococcus aureus. These infections are major causes of mortality and morbidity globally and new approaches are urgently needed. The main goal is to generate new nano-vaccines based on bacterial exosomes. Bacterial exosomes are produced by bacteria and are composed of proteins present in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. Our preliminary data suggest that bacterial exosomes are protective in mice. We will characterize bacterial exosomes and identify protective antigens, and generate mimic exosomes and exosome-inspired functionalized nano-probes using bioengineering approaches. To optimize the composition, binding properties and fate of the exosomes and nano-probes, to be developed as vaccines, they will be studied in vitro and in vivo using biophysical and biomedical techniques. We will adapt fluorescence-based ultrasensitive, super-resolution imaging and spectroscopy technologies, harnessed with a new generation of single-photon detectors in our pathogenesis models to reveal knowledge on detailed underlying molecular mechanisms and host-bacterial exosome interactions. Generated vaccine candidates will be studied in our mouse protection models. We expect that the fluorescence, photon detector and nanoparticle technologies developed will find a broad biomedical applicability.
Source – Karolinska Institutet