Dr. Hu, Che-Ming (Jack) 's publons link picture Dr. Hu, Che-Ming (Jack) 's Personal Homepage


  • 2652-3089 (Lab) (Room No: N534)
  • 2788-7641 (Fax)


Biomaterials and Nanotechnology for Drug and Vaccine Development

Education and Positions:
  • B.S. University of California, Berkeley (Biomedical Engineering)

    Ph.D. University of California, San Diego (Bioengineering)

Highlight Detail

Overcoming the nutritional immunity by engineering iron-scavenging bacteria for cancer therapy

Dr. Hu, Che-Ming (Jack)
Elife, May 15, 2024

Certain bacteria demonstrate the ability to target and colonize the tumor microenvironment, a characteristic that positions them as innovative carriers for delivering various therapeutic agents in cancer therapy. Nevertheless, our understanding of how bacteria adapt their physiological condition to the tumor microenvironment remains elusive. In this work, we employed liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to examine the proteome of E. coli colonized in murine tumors. Compared to E. coli cultivated in the rich medium, we found that E. coli colonized in tumors notably upregulated the processes related to ferric ions, including the enterobactin biosynthesis and iron homeostasis. This finding indicated that the tumor is an iron-deficient environment to E. coli. We also found that the colonization of E. coli in the tumor led to an increased expression of lipocalin 2 (LCN2), a host protein that can sequester the enterobactin. We therefore engineered E. coli in order to evade the nutritional immunity provided by LCN2. By introducing the IroA cluster, the E. coli synthesizes the glycosylated enterobactin, which creates steric hindrance to avoid the LCN2 sequestration. The IroA-E. coli showed enhanced resistance to LCN2 and significantly improved the anti-tumor activity in mice. Moreover, the mice cured by the IroA-E. coli treatment became resistant to the tumor re-challenge, indicating the establishment of immunological memory. Overall, our study underscores the crucial role of bacteria's ability to acquire ferric ions within the tumor microenvironment for effective cancer therapy.