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Cholesterol-Assisted Bacterial Cell Surface Engineering for Photodynamic Inactivation of Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacteria

Jia, Hao-Ran, Zhu, Ya-Xuan, Chen, Zhan, Wu, Fu-Gen
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2017 v.9 no.19 pp. 15943-15951
Escherichia coli, Gram-negative bacteria, Gram-positive bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, aqueous solutions, bacterial infections, chemical elements, cholesterol, cytotoxicity, engineering, fluorescence, hydrophobicity, irradiation, mammals, multiple drug resistance, nanoparticles, photochemotherapy, photosensitizing agents, polyethylene glycol, protoporphyrin, singlet oxygen, white light
Antibacterial photodynamic therapy (PDT), which enables effective killing of regular and multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria, is a promising treatment modality for bacterial infection. However, because most photosensitizer (PS) molecules fail to strongly interact with the surface of Gram-negative bacteria, this technique is suitable for treating only Gram-positive bacterial infection, which largely hampers its practical applications. Herein, we reveal for the first time that cholesterol could significantly facilitate the hydrophobic binding of PSs to the bacterial surface, achieving the hydrophobic interaction-based bacterial cell surface engineering that could effectively photoinactivate both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. An amphiphilic polymer composed of a polyethylene glycol (PEG) segment terminated with protoporphyrin IX (PpIX, an anionic PS) and cholesterol was constructed (abbreviated Chol-PEG-PpIX), which could self-assemble into micelle-like nanoparticles (NPs) in aqueous solution. When encountering the Gram-negative Escherichia coli cells, the Chol-PEG-PpIX NPs would disassemble and the PpIX moieties could effectively bind to the bacterial surface with the help of the cholesterol moieties, resulting in the significantly enhanced fluorescence emission of the bacterial surface. Under white light irradiation, the light-triggered singlet oxygen (¹O₂) generation of the membrane-bound PpIX could not only severely damage the outer membrane but also facilitate the entry of external Chol-PEG-PpIX into the bacteria, achieving >99.99% bactericidal efficiency. Besides, as expected, the Chol-PEG-PpIX NPs also exhibited excellent antibacterial performance against the Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus. We also verified that this nanoagent possesses negligible dark cytotoxicity toward mammalian cells and good hemocompatibility. To the best of our knowledge, this study demonstrates for the first time the feasibility of constructing a fully hydrophobic interaction-based and outer membrane-anchored antibacterial PDT nanoagent.