Nanobiotechnology: “Escherichia coli as a New Platform for the Fast Production of Vault-like Nanoparticles: An Optimized Protocol”

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 202223(24), 15543; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232415543

This work was performed by the Nanobiotechnology group, from IBB/UAB and CIBER-BBN (group CB06/01/0014)


Vaults are protein nanoparticles that are found in almost all eukaryotic cells but are absent in prokaryotic ones. Due to their properties (nanometric size, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and lack of immunogenicity), vaults show enormous potential as a bio-inspired, self-assembled drug-delivery system (DDS). Vault architecture is directed by self-assembly of the “major vault protein” (MVP), the main component of this nanoparticle. Recombinant expression (in different eukaryotic systems) of the MVP resulted in the formation of nanoparticles that were indistinguishable from native vaults. Nowadays, recombinant vaults for different applications are routinely produced in insect cells and purified by successive ultracentrifugations, which are both tedious and time-consuming strategies. To offer cost-efficient and faster protocols for nanoparticle production, we propose the production of vault-like nanoparticles in Escherichia coli cells, which are still one of the most widely used prokaryotic cell factories for recombinant protein production. The strategy proposed allowed for the spontaneous encapsulation of the engineered cargo protein within the self-assembled vault-like nanoparticles by simply mixing the clarified lysates of the producing cells. Combined with well-established affinity chromatography purification methods, our approach contains faster, cost-efficient procedures for biofabrication in a well-known microbial cell factory and the purification of “ready-to-use” loaded protein nanoparticles, thereby opening the way to faster and easier engineering and production of vault-based DDSs.Keywords: prokaryotic cell factoriesvault particlesprotein nanocagesdrug-delivery systemsself-assembling protein nanoparticles