• Design, expression, and characterization of FimH antigen as single recombinant protein or exposed on nanoparticles
  • Cinelli, Paolo <1994>


  • BIO/11 Biologia molecolare


  • Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) accounts for approximately 85% of all urinary tract infections (UTIs), causing a global economic burden. E. coli is one of the pathogens mentioned in the ESKAPEE list drafted by OMS, meaning that the increasing antibiotic resistance acquired by UPEC is and will be a serious health problem in the future. Amongst the immunogenic antigens exposed on the surface of UPEC, FimH represent a potential target for vaccine development, since it is involved in the early stages of infection. As already demonstrated, immunizations with FimH elicit functional antibodies that prevent UPEC infections even though the number of doses required to elicit a strong immune response is not optimal. In this work, we aimed to stabilize FimH as a soluble recombinant antigen exploiting the donor strand complementation mechanism by generating different chimeric constructs constituted by FimH and FimG donor strand. To explore the potential of self-assembling nanoparticles to display FimH through genetic fusion, different constructs have been computationally designed and produced. In this work a structure-based design, using available crystal structures of FimH and three different NPs was performed to generate different constructs with optimized properties. Despite the different conditions tested, all the constructs designed (single antigen or chimeric NPs), resulted to be un-soluble proteins in E. coli. To overcome this issue a mammalian expression system has been tested. Soluble antigen expression was achieved for all constructs tested in the culture supernatants. Three novel chimeric NPs have been characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) confirming the presence of correctly assembled NPs displaying UPEC antigen. In vivo study has shown a higher immunogenicity of the E. coli antigen when displayed on NPs surface compared to the single recombinant antigen. The antibodies elicited by chimeric NPs showed a higher functionality in the inhibition of bacterial adhesion.


  • 2023-03-28


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Cinelli, Paolo (2023) Design, expression, and characterization of FimH antigen as single recombinant protein or exposed on nanoparticles, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare , 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10563.