Technology Listings

Use of Gram-Positive Pili to Deliver Antigens as Vaccines


Protein expression on the tip of pili in gram-positive bacteria including Lactococcus lactis. Applications include the development of live bacteria-based vaccines that do not require refrigeration and are inexpensive to produce; and other live bacteria-based therapeutics, utility for food processing, probiotic applications and as biocatalysts.

Key Benefits
  • Technology platform for a new bacterial expression system that covalently links a protein external to the bacterial surface.
  • Expression system has been demonstrated in Lactococcus lactis.
  • Multiple potential applications including vaccines, probiotics and biocatalysts.
Technical Summary

Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, and other gram-positive bacteria have a variety of industrial applications in the medical, agricultural and food processing fields. Emory investigators have developed a technology platform for protein expression on the surface of gram-positive bacteria. A fusion protein has been covalently linked to the tip of a pilus and has been successfully expressed in L. lactis. This technology allows for the expression of candidate antigens, enzymes and other proteins external to the bacterial surface. One potential application includes producing an oral non-invasive vaccine that is inexpensive to manufacture and does not require refrigeration. The technology can also be used to present enzymes either as part of a human or animal probiotic, as a biocatalyst, for bioremdiation, or to improve animal feed.

Developmental Stage
  • Genetic engineering has allowed a successful covalent linkage of a foreign protein to the tip of a pilus in L. lactis.
  • Experiments are underway to produce and test biocatalysts and vaccines using the expression system.
Patent Information
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Nationalized PCT - United States United States 12/990,264 5/8/2009    
Continuation United States 14/513,797 10/14/2014    
Tech ID: 08099
Published: 3/25/2009

Rajsekhar Guddneppanavar
Licensing Associate
Emory University

June Scott
Bernard Quigley
Dorothea Zahner