Photothermal Colloid Antibodies for Shape-Selective Recognition and Killing of Microorganisms

J. Borovicka, W.J. Metheringham, L.A. Madden, C.D. Walton, S.D. Stoyanov, V.N. Paunov

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    99 Citations (Scopus)


    We have developed a class of selective antimicrobial agents based on the recognition of the shape and size of the bacterial cells. These agents are anisotropic colloid particles fabricated as negative replicas of the target cells which involve templating of the cells with shells of inert material followed by their fragmentation. The cell shape recognition by such shell fragments is due to the increased area of surface contact between the cells and their matching shell fragments which resembles antibody-antigen interaction. We produced such "colloid antibodies" with photothermal mechanism for shape-selective killing of matching cells. This was achieved by the subsequent deposition of (i) gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and (ii) silica shell over yeast cells, which were chosen as model pathogens. We demonstrated that fragments of these composite AuNP/silica shells act as "colloid antibodies" and can bind to yeast cells of the same shape and size and deliver AuNPs directly onto their surface. We showed that after laser irradiation, the localized heating around the AuNPs kills the microbial cells of matching shape. We confirmed the cell shape-specific killing by photothermal colloid antibodies in a mixture of two bacterial cultures of different cell shape and size. This approach opens a number of avenues for building powerful selective biocides based on combinations of colloid antibodies and cell-killing strategies which can be applied in new antibacterial therapies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5282-5285
    JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
    Issue number14
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • tobacco-mosaic-virus
    • gold nanoparticles
    • pathogenic bacteria
    • cancer-cells
    • lysis
    • challenge
    • nanorods
    • therapy


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