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The molecular mechanism of action of bactericidal gold nanoparticles on Escherichia coli

Cui, Yan, Zhao, Yuyun, Tian, Yue, Zhang, Wei, Lü, Xiaoying, Jiang, Xingyu
Biomaterials 2012 v.33 no.7 pp. 2327-2333
Escherichia coli, Gram-negative bacteria, adenosine triphosphate, adenosinetriphosphatase, antibacterial properties, antibiotics, chemotaxis, death, energy metabolism, gold, mechanism of action, membrane potential, multiple drug resistance, nanogold, proteomics, reactive oxygen species, ribosomes, transcriptomics, transfer RNA
This work examines the molecular mechanism of action of a class of bactericidal gold nanoparticles (NPs) which show potent antibacterial activities against multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria by transcriptomic and proteomic approaches. Gold NPs exert their antibacterial activities mainly by two ways: one is to collapse membrane potential, inhibiting ATPase activities to decrease the ATP level; the other is to inhibit the subunit of ribosome from binding tRNA. Gold NPs enhance chemotaxis in the early-phase reaction. The action of gold NPs did not include reactive oxygen species (ROS)-related mechanism, the cause for cellular death induced by most bactericidal antibiotics and nanomaterials. Our investigation would allow the development of antibacterial agents that target the energy-metabolism and transcription of bacteria without triggering the ROS reaction, which may be at the same time harmful for the host when killing bacteria.