Nowadays, along with the expansion of Chinese medical industry and the improvement of economic conditions of a vast quantity of Chinese population, people caution toward inheritable genetic diseases is rising at the same time. Of all these diseases, galactosemia is a manifestation but also the one often ignored because of its tendency to kill patients slowly through a longer period of time.
But do you know that the incidence rate of galactosemia in China has already been around 1/6000, indicating that in 2022, there will be about 25000 patients in China. In order to cure those patients, our research group aims to figure out an innovative therapeutic solution to deal with galactosemia. Moreover, patients with glactosemia have a very constrained diet that excludes any food with galactose.
The name of team GalAcid is the compound word composed of the former part of galactose and the latter part of the butyric acid. Moreover, our team name resembles the word “galaxy”, showing our goal to open up a whole new galaxy of galactose containing food products these patients can take in such as milk, hence our slogan: Start your own milky way.
When you drink milk, you may ignore that one out of eighty thousand people around you are suffering from drinking milk and its analogous products such as soybean milk, bean curd and so on. After having seminars with those experts in this area, we found that there are three therapies to treat those patients mainstreamed now- the first one is to decrease or cease the intake quantity, the second one is to increase the intake quantity of relative enzymes: uridyltransferase, galactokinase, and galactose epiisomerase, and the last one is to treat the complications when those patients grow up. As far as we know, galactosemia patients are not allowed to intake galactose product. This issue also provides us with inspiration that we want to make all those patients to enjoy galactose product as anyone else.
Starting from this idea, we want to build an engineered probiotic to decompose indigestible galactose into useful butyric acid, one of the most essential short chain fatty acids.
Our goal is to engineer plasmid No. 4 that has a butyric acid synthesis pathway along with a lac-Y gene that helps the probiotic to prioritize the ingestion of galactose. Plasmid No. 4 has the function of enabling the probiotic to use the galactose in our intestine to synthesize butyric acid. To engineer plasmid No. 4, we need to combine two other plasmids that we engineered: Plasmid No. 1 and No. 2. Plasmid No. 1 will be constructed with a PMTL83151 carrier along with butyrate synthesis path and J23100 promoter while plasmid No. 2 will carry P-15A as its carrier with lacY gene and J23200 promoter. Using a competent E. Coli cell, we can transfer the plasmid into the cell, creating our final product.
Be Friends with Galactose—Build a probiotic to transform galactose into beneficial acids
Saccharine diseases have troubled humanity for tens of thousands of years since we started to expand our diets. In China, the number of affected patients already towered over 100 million and it is still rising. We wanted to help relive patients with galactosemia, one of the saccharine diseases with the highest prevalence rate and detrimental influence. Our team came up with an innovative idea which is to engineer a probiotic with the function to decompose galactose into butyric acid, a useful short chain fatty acid. In the process, we engineered three different plasmids, each with its own capabilities that is essential for galactose breakdown. Using a competent E. Coli cell, we can transfer the plasmids into the cell, creating our final product. Eventually, the probiotics was successfully engineered in the laboratory. To implement this product, we plan to produce it as a health-care beverage product after analyzing over 400 pieces of survey and suggestions from experts in the medicine and milk industry.