Proteins are needed for vaccines but also for analytical purposes. Leishmania can be used to produce human-like proteins, which is important for the production of many drugs. Our system is particularly valuable for the production of vaccines, because vaccines based on full proteins provide more comprehensive protection than mRNA vaccines. With mRNA vaccines, the body only receives the blueprint for the protein in question, and the amount of protein eventually made might differ between individuals. With our system, the proteins for vaccines can be easily and quickly produced at a large scale.
Over the last year, we have discussed our project with a number of researchers. Some of them work with Leishmania and have difficulties with cloning.
Our MoClo system for Leishmania provides a simple tool that helps researchers minimize efforts with cloning. To this end, we have generated a vector system allowing blue-white selection and simple cloning via MoClo. Moreover, we have created a library of genetic parts for the Leishmania MoClo system. We will share this vector and the library with other teams and scientists. It can also be expanded as new parts are added. Thus, over time, a large library of genetic parts can be created to effectively produce, detect, and purify different proteins expressed in Leishmania.
When dealing with Leishmania, it is important to always work under sterile conditions and safely dispose discarded liquid cultures. It is best to autoclave such cultures.
In addition, an incubator is needed because Leishmania must always be incubated at 27°C. The temperature of the incubator must be maintained at this temperature. At temperatures much higher than 27°C, protein expression levels and growth decrease and since Leishmania are very sensitive to high temperature, they die.
More research is needed, however. For example, we need to optimize the purification protocols of expressed proteins, because that has often been a challenge for us.