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Bacterial inclusion bodies as potential synthetic devices for pathogen recognition and a therapeutic substance release

Klaudia Talafová12, Eva Hrabárová12, Dušan Chorvát3 and Jozef Nahálka12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Chemistry, Centre for Glycomics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, Bratislava, SK, 84538, Slovak Republic

2 Institute of Chemistry, Centre of excellence for white-green biotechnology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Trieda Andreja Hlinku 2, Nitra, SK, 94976, Slovak Republic

3 Biophonic Department, International Laser Centre, Ilkovičova 3, Mlynská dolina, Bratislava, SK, 81219, Slovak Republic

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Microbial Cell Factories 2013, 12:16  doi:10.1186/1475-2859-12-16

Published: 7 February 2013



Adhesins of pathogens recognise the glycans on the host cell and mediate adherence. They are also crucial for determining the tissue preferences of pathogens. Currently, glyco-nanomaterials provide potential tool for antimicrobial therapy. We demonstrate that properly glyco-tailored inclusion bodies can specifically bind pathogen adhesins and release therapeutic substances.


In this paper, we describe the preparation of tailored inclusion bodies via the conjugation of indicator protein aggregated to form inclusion bodies with soluble proteins. Whereas the indicator protein represents a remedy, the soluble proteins play a role in pathogen recognition. For conjugation, glutaraldehyde was used as linker. The treatment of conjugates with polar lysine, which was used to inactivate the residual glutaraldehyde, inhibited unwanted hydrophobic interactions between inclusion bodies. The tailored inclusion bodies specifically interacted with the SabA adhesin from Helicobacter pylori aggregated to form inclusion bodies that were bound to the sialic acids decorating the surface of human erythrocytes. We also tested the release of indicator proteins from the inclusion bodies using sortase A and Ssp DNAB intein self-cleaving modules, respectively. Sortase A released proteins in a relatively short period of time, whereas the intein cleavage took several weeks.


The tailored inclusion bodies are promising “nanopills” for biomedical applications. They are able to specifically target the pathogen, while a self-cleaving module releases a soluble remedy. Various self-cleaving modules can be enabled to achieve the diverse pace of remedy release.

Nanopills; Pathogen targeting; Drug release