Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness due to increased intraocular pressure (IOP) in the eye. We have developed a novel treatment option for glaucoma based on a real-time IOP-dependent nitric oxide synthase (NOS) and packed in a therapeutic contact lens to reduce the IOP. First, 1.6 nmole nitric oxide was produced from the genetic chassis, which was optimized for isopropyl β-d-1-thiogalactopyranoside (IPTG) induction in a T7 expression system. For biosafety concerns to human being, the csgAD genes responsible for curli biofilm formation in Escherichia coli were co-expressed with NOS in the designated NOSAD strain to strengthen the adherence of cells to the contact lens, thereby preventing the contamination into the eyes. Moreover, NOSAD is a diaminopimelic acid (DAP) auxotrophic strain, which cannot survive without supplementation of DAP and reached the critical consideration of biosafety to the environment. We also demonstrated that the nitric oxide diffusion was 3.6-times enhanced from penetration into the aqueous humor of porcine eyes. The deformation ratio of the contact lens was correlated to the change of IOP by using a digital image correlation (DIC) system in a porcine eye model. The novel systematic approach provides an alternative treatment for glaucoma patients in the future.
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