iGEM 2016 UCC Ireland
Lactococcus lactis, a generally recognised as safe (GRAS) bacterium commonly used in food production, is highly amenable to genetic manipulation. The UCC team aims to develop a synthetic L. lactis-based platform that can deliver proteins to immune cells to precisely influence the host immune response for use in the treatment of various diseases. Potential applications which the team has investigated include vaccination strategies and macrophage modification. They have developed the platform as a vaccine against leishmaniasis, a neglected tropical disease increasing in geographical distribution. LJM11 is an immunogenic salivary protein of the sandfly vector, Lutzomyia longipalpis. The inexpensive platform, through simple oral administration, has the capacity to deliver this protein to antigen-presenting cells, and potentially immunise against the life cycle of leishmaniasis. Besides vaccination strategies, this platform may be employed to modify the phenotype of other phagocytic cells associated with diseases such as cancer.