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Surface Ligand Density of Antibiotic-Nanoparticle Conjugates Enhances Target Avidity and Membrane Permeabilization of Vancomycin-Resistant Bacteria

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journal contribution
posted on 13.12.2016, 18:48 by Marwa M. Hassan, Andrea Ranzoni, Wanida Phetsang, Mark A. T. Blaskovich, Matthew A. Cooper
Many bacterial pathogens have now acquired resistance toward commonly used antibiotics, such as the glycopeptide antibiotic vancomycin. In this study, we show that immobilization of vancomycin onto a nanometer-scale solid surface with controlled local density can potentiate antibiotic action and increase target affinity of the drug. Magnetic nanoparticles were conjugated with vancomycin and used as a model system to investigate the relationship between surface density and drug potency. We showed remarkable improvement in minimum inhibitory concentration against vancomycin-resistant strains with values of 13–28 μg/mL for conjugated vancomycin compared to 250–4000 μg/mL for unconjugated vancomycin. Higher surface densities resulted in enhanced affinity toward the bacterial target compared to that of unconjugated vancomycin, as measured by a competition experiment using a surrogate ligand for bacterial Lipid II, N-Acetyl-l-Lys-d-Ala-d-Ala. High density vancomycin nanoparticles required >64 times molar excess of ligand (relative to the vancomycin surface density) to abrogate antibacterial activity compared to only 2 molar excess for unconjugated vancomycin. Further, the drug-nanoparticle conjugates caused rapid permeabilization of the bacterial cell wall within 2 h, whereas no effect was seen with unconjugated vancomycin, suggesting additional modes of action for the nanoparticle-conjugated drug. Hence, immobilization of readily available antibiotics on nanocarriers may present a general strategy for repotentiating drugs that act on bacterial membranes or membrane-bound targets but have lost effectiveness against resistant bacterial strains.