In a paper published in Nano Letters, the team of Yves Dufrêne, WELBIO Investigator at UCL, together with chemists from the Namur University, demonstrate how the tools of nanotechnology (nanoscopy, nanoparticles) can help fighting bacterial infections, thereby complementing antibiotherapy.
The development of bacterial strains that are resistant to multiple antibiotics has urged the need for new antibacterial therapies. An exciting approach to fight bacterial diseases is the use of anti-adhesive agents capable to block the adhesion of the pathogens to host tissues, the first step of infection. While the ability of sugars to protect against bacterial infections has already been recognized 35 years ago, their activity remains poorly understood owing to the lack of appropriate probing techniques.
Using live-cell nanoscopy (atomic force microscopy), the authors showed how carbon nanoparticles (fullerenes) functionalized by multiples copies of mannose, are capable to block the adhesion of uropathogenic bacteria to their carbohydrate receptors, via high-affinity multivalent bonds. This study shows that the tools of nanotechnology offer new possibilities for antibacterial therapy, by enabling a direct quantification, without labelling or purification, of the activity of anti-adhesion molecules.
Beaussart et al, Force Nanoscopy as a Versatile Platform for Quantifying the Activity of Antiadhesion Compounds Targeting Bacterial Pathogens, Nano Letters (2016) DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b04689