Antibiotic-Like Activity of Atomic Layer Boron Nitride for Combating Resistant Bacteria

Yanxia Pan, Huizhen Zheng, Guanna Li, Yanan Li, Jie Jiang, Jie Chen, Qianqian Xie, Di Wu, Ronglin Ma, Xi Liu, Shujuan Xu, Jun Jiang, Xiaoming Cai, Meng Gao, Weili Wang, Han Zuilhof, Mingliang Ye, Ruibin Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The global rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) that increasingly invalidates conventional antibiotics has become a huge threat to human health. Although nanosized antibacterial agents have been extensively explored, they cannot sufficiently discriminate between microbes and mammals, which necessitates the exploration of other antibiotic-like candidates for clinical uses. Herein, two-dimensional boron nitride (BN) nanosheets are reported to exhibit antibiotic-like activity to AMR bacteria. Interestingly, BN nanosheets had AMR-independent antibacterial activity without triggering secondary resistance in long-term use and displayed excellent biocompatibility in mammals. They could target key surface proteins (e.g., FtsP, EnvC, TolB) in cell division, resulting in impairment of Z-ring constriction for inhibition of bacteria growth. Notably, BN nanosheets had potent antibacterial effects in a lung infection model by P. aeruginosa (AMR), displaying a 2-fold increment of survival rate. Overall, these results suggested that BN nanosheets could be a promising nano-antibiotic to combat resistant bacteria and prevent AMR evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7674–7688
JournalACS Nano
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2022


  • 2D materials
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • molecular dynamic simulation
  • nanotoxicity
  • proteomics


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