Bacteria-instructed synthesis of polymers for self-selective microbial binding and labelling
Magennis, Eugene Peter and Fernandez-Trillo, Francisco and Sui, Cheng and Spain, Sebastian G. and Bradshaw, David and Churchley, David and Mantovani, Giuseppe and Winzer, Klaus and Alexander, Cameron (2014) Bacteria-instructed synthesis of polymers for self-selective microbial binding and labelling. Nature Materials, 13 (7). pp. 748-755. ISSN 1476-1122
The detection and inactivation of pathogenic strains of bacteria continues to be an important therapeutic goal. Hence, there is a need for materials that can bind selectively to specific microorganisms, for diagnostic or anti-infective applications, but which can be formed from simple and inexpensive building blocks. Here, we exploit bacterial redox systems to induce a copper-mediated radical polymerisation of synthetic monomers at cell surfaces, generating polymers in situ that bind strongly to the microorganisms which produced them. This ‘bacteria-instructed synthesis’ can be carried out with a variety of microbial strains, and we show that the polymers produced are self-selective binding agents for the ‘instructing’ cell types. We further expand on the bacterial redox chemistries to ‘click’ fluorescent reporters onto polymers directly at the surfaces of a range of clinical isolate strains, allowing rapid, facile and simultaneous binding and visualisation of pathogens.
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