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Living Bacteria–Nanoparticle Hybrids Mediated through Surface-Displayed Peptides

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journal contribution
posted on 25.04.2018 by Hong Dong, Deborah A. Sarkes, Jeffrey J. Rice, Margaret M. Hurley, Adele J. Fu, Dimitra N. Stratis-Cullum
In this study, we investigated the preparation of living bacteria–nanoparticle hybrids mediated by surface-displayed peptides. The assembly of metallic nanoparticles on living bacteria has been achieved under mild conditions utilizing metal–peptide interactions, whereas the viability of the bacterial cells was greatly preserved. Escherichia coli was engineered with inducible gene circuits to control the display of peptides with desired sequences. Several designed peptide sequences as well as known gold-binding peptides were expressed on the cell surface using enhanced circularly permuted outer membrane protein X (eCPX) scaffolds. Driven by metal–peptide affinity, “biofriendly” citrate-stabilized gold nanoparticles were self-assembled onto the surface of bacteria with displayed peptides, which required overcoming the repulsive force between negatively charged nanoparticles and negatively charged cells. The bacteria/Au nanoparticle hybrids were highly viable and maintained the ability to grow and divide, which is a crucial step toward the creation of living material systems. Further activity and preservation of the bacterial hybrid assembly was demonstrated. The method described herein enables the conjugation of bacterial surfaces with diverse metal-rich nanoparticles in an inducible, and therefore easily controlled, manner. The expressed peptide sequences can be easily modified to alter the binding affinity and specificity for a wide variety of materials to form on-demand, high-density living biohybrids.