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Nanoparticles as powerful antibiotic reagents

Recently Dr. Yuyun Zhao from Prof. Xingyu Jiang’s group of the CAS Key Lab for Biological Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, has published an article “Small Molecule-Capped Gold Nanoparticles as Potent Antibacterial Agents That Target Gram-Negative Bacteria” in the Journal of the American Chemical Society(2010, 132, 12349–12356)

This report illustrates a new strategy in designing antibacterial agents using a series of commercially available compounds, amino-substituted pyrimidines (themselves completely inactive as antibiotics), when presented on gold nanoparticles (NPs), show antibacterial activities against multidrug-resistant clinical isolates, without external sources of energy such as IR. These pyrimidine-capped gold NPs exert their antibiotic actions via sequestration of magnesium to disrupt the bacterial cell membrane, resulting in leakage of cytoplasmic contents including nucleic acids from compromised cell membranes, and via interaction with DNA and inhibition of protein synthesis by internalized NPs. These amino-substituted pyrimidine-capped gold NPs induce bacterial resistance more slowly compared with conventional, smallmolecule antibiotics and appear harmless to human cells; these NPs may hence be useful for clinical applications.

Funding for this work was provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation of China, and the Ministry of Science and Technology.


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