A synthetic probiotic engineered for colorectal cancer therapy modulates gut microbiota

Yusook Chung, Yongku Ryu, Byung Chull An, Yeo Sang Yoon, Oksik Choi, Tai Yeub Kim, Jaekyung Yoon, Jun Young Ahn, Ho Jin Park, Soon Kyeong Kwon, Jihyun F. Kim, Myung Jun Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Successful chemoprevention or chemotherapy is achieved through targeted delivery of prophylactic agents during initial phases of carcinogenesis or therapeutic agents to malignant tumors. Bacteria can be used as anticancer agents, but efforts to utilize attenuated pathogenic bacteria suffer from the risk of toxicity or infection. Lactic acid bacteria are safe to eat and often confer health benefits, making them ideal candidates for live vehicles engineered to deliver anticancer drugs. Results: In this study, we developed an effective bacterial drug delivery system for colorectal cancer (CRC) therapy using the lactic acid bacterium Pediococcus pentosaceus. It is equipped with dual gene cassettes driven by a strong inducible promoter that encode the therapeutic protein P8 fused to a secretion signal peptide and a complementation system. In an inducible CRC cell-derived xenograft mouse model, our synthetic probiotic significantly reduced tumor volume and inhibited tumor growth relative to the control. Mice with colitis-associated CRC induced by azoxymethane and dextran sodium sulfate exhibited polyp regression and recovered taxonomic diversity when the engineered bacterium was orally administered. Further, the synthetic probiotic modulated gut microbiota and alleviated the chemically induced dysbiosis. Correlation analysis demonstrated that specific bacterial taxa potentially associated with eubiosis or dysbiosis, such as Akkermansia or Turicibacter, have positive or negative relationships with other microbial members. Conclusions: Taken together, our work illustrates that an effective and stable synthetic probiotic composed of P. pentosaceus and the P8 therapeutic protein can reduce CRC and contribute to rebiosis, and the validity and feasibility of cell-based designer biopharmaceuticals for both treating CRC and ameliorating impaired microbiota. [MediaObject not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Article number122
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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