Fluorescent nanosensors reveal dynamic pH gradients during biofilm formation.
ABSTRACT: Understanding the dynamic environmental microniches of biofilms will permit us to detect, manage and exploit these communities. The components and architecture of biofilms have been interrogated in depth; however, little is known about the environmental microniches present. This is primarily because of the absence of tools with the required measurement sensitivity and resolution to detect these changes. We describe the application of ratiometric fluorescent pH-sensitive nanosensors, as a tool, to observe physiological pH changes in biofilms in real time. Nanosensors comprised two pH-sensitive fluorophores covalently encapsulated with a reference pH-insensitive fluorophore in an inert polyacrylamide nanoparticle matrix. The nanosensors were used to analyse the real-time three-dimensional pH variation for two model biofilm formers: (i) opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and (ii) oral pathogen Streptococcus mutans. The detection of sugar metabolism in real time by nanosensors provides a potential application to identify therapeutic solutions to improve oral health.
Project description:Bacterial bio?lms can form persistent infections on wounds and implanted medical devices and are associated with many chronic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis. These infections are medically difficult to treat, as biofilms are more resistant to antibiotic attack than their planktonic counterparts. An understanding of the spatial and temporal variation in the metabolism of biofilms is a critical component toward improved biofilm treatments. To this end, we developed oxygen-sensitive luminescent nanosensors to measure three-dimensional (3D) oxygen gradients, an application of which is demonstrated here with <i>Pseudomonas aeruginosa</i> biofilms. The method was applied here and improves on traditional one-dimensional (1D) methods of measuring oxygen profiles by investigating the spatial and temporal variation of oxygen concentration when bio?lms are challenged with antibiotic attack. We observed an increased oxygenation of biofilms that was consistent with cell death from comparisons with antibiotic kill curves for PAO1. Due to the spatial and temporal nature of our approach, we also identified spatial and temporal inhomogeneities in the biofilm metabolism that are consistent with previous observations. Clinical strains of <i>P. aeruginosa</i> subjected to similar interrogation showed variations in resistance to colistin and tobramycin, which are two antibiotics commonly used to treat <i>P. aeruginosa</i> infections in cystic fibrosis patients.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Biofilm infections are more difficult to treat than planktonic infections for a variety of reasons, such as decreased antibiotic penetration. Their complex structure makes biofilms challenging to study without disruption. To address this limitation, we developed and demonstrated oxygen-sensitive luminescent nanosensors that can be incorporated into biofilms for studying oxygen penetration, distribution, and antibiotic efficacy-demonstrated here with our sensors monitoring antibiotic impacts on metabolism in biofilms formed from clinical isolates. The significance of our research is in demonstrating not only a nondisruptive method for imaging and measuring oxygen in biofilms but also that this nanoparticle-based sensing platform can be modified to measure many different ions and small molecule analytes.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Bacterial biofilms are communities of surface-associated microorganisms living in cellular clusters or micro-colonies, encapsulated in a complex matrix composed of an extracellular polymeric substance, separated by open water channels that act as a circulatory system that enable better diffusion of nutrients and easier removal of metabolic waste products. The monitoring of biofilms can provide important information on fundamental biofilm-related processes. That information can shed light on the bacterial processes and enable scientists to find ways of preventing future bacterial infections. Various approaches in use for biofilm analysis are based on microscopic, spectrochemical, electrochemical, and piezoelectrical methods. All these methods provide significant progress in understanding the bio-process related to biofilm formation and eradication, nevertheless, the development of novel approaches for the real-time monitoring of biochemical, in particular metabolic activity, of bacterial species during the formation, life and eradication of biofilms is of great potential importance. RESULTS:Here, detection and monitoring of the metabolic activity of bacterial biofilms in high-ionic-strength solutions were enabled as a result of novel surface modification by an active redox system, composed of 9,10-dihydroxyanthracene/9,10-anthraquinone, on the oxide layer of the SiNW, yielding a chemically-gated FET array. With the use of enzymatic reactions of oxidases, metabolites can be converted to H2O2 and monitored by the nanosensors. Here, the successful detection of glucose metabolites in high-ionic-strength solutions, such as bacterial media, without pre-processing of small volume samples under different conditions and treatments, has been demonstrated. The biofilms were treated with antibiotics differing in their mechanisms of action and were compared to untreated biofilms. Further examination of biofilms under antibiotic treatment with SiNW-FET devices could shed light on the bioprocess that occurs within the biofilm. Moreover, finding proper treatment that eliminates the biofilm could be examined by the novel nanosensor as a monitoring tool. CONCLUSIONS:To summarize, the combination of redox-reactive SiNW-FET devices with micro-fluidic techniques enables the performance of rapid, automated, and real-time metabolite detection with the use of minimal sample size, noninvasively and label-free. This novel platform can be used as an extremely sensitive tool for detection and establishing medical solutions for bacterial-biofilm eradication and for finding a proper treatment to eliminate biofilm contaminations. Moreover, the sensing system can be used as a research tool for further understanding of the metabolic processes that occur within the bacterial biofilm population.
Project description:Infectious diseases are worldwide a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Fast and specific detection of pathogens such as bacteria is needed to combat these diseases. Optimal methods would be non-invasive and without extensive sample-taking/processing. Here, we developed a set of near infrared (NIR) fluorescent nanosensors and used them for remote fingerprinting of clinically important bacteria. The nanosensors are based on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) that fluoresce in the NIR optical tissue transparency window, which offers ultra-low background and high tissue penetration. They are chemically tailored to detect released metabolites as well as specific virulence factors (lipopolysaccharides, siderophores, DNases, proteases) and integrated into functional hydrogel arrays with 9 different sensors. These hydrogels are exposed to clinical isolates of 6 important bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli,…) and remote (?25?cm) NIR imaging allows to identify and distinguish bacteria. Sensors are also spectrally encoded (900?nm, 1000?nm, 1250?nm) to differentiate the two major pathogens P. aeruginosa as well as S. aureus and penetrate tissue (>5?mm). This type of multiplexing with NIR fluorescent nanosensors enables remote detection and differentiation of important pathogens and the potential for smart surfaces.
Project description:A novel pH sensitive, colorimetric ionic liquid nanosensor based on phosphonium salts of fluorescein is reported. Herein, fluorescein salts of various stoichiometries were synthesized by use of a trihexyltetradecylphosphonium cation [TTP]+ in combination with dianionic [FL]2- and monoanionic [FL]- fluorescein. Nanomaterials derived from these two compounds yielded contrasting colorimetric responses in neutral and acidic environments. Variations in fluorescence spectra as a function of pH were also observed. Examination of TEM and DLS data revealed significant expansion in the diameter of [TTP]2[FL] nanodroplets in acidic environments of variable pHs. A similar trend was also observed for [TTP][FL] nanoparticles. The pH dependent colorimetric and other optical properties of these nanomaterials are attributed to alterations in molecular orientations and stacking as suggested by measuring the absorption, fluorescence, and zeta potential. Since the pH is an important indicator for many diseases, including cancer, these nanosensors are considered to be potential candidates for biomedical applications.
Project description:The development of sensors for noninvasive determination of oxygen levels in live cells and tissues is critical for the understanding of cellular functions, as well as for monitoring the status of disease, such as cancer, and for predicting the efficacy of therapy. We describe such nontoxic, targeted, and ratiometric 30 nm oxygen nanosensors made of polyacrylamide hydrogel, near-infrared (NIR) luminescent dyes, and surface-conjugated tumor-specific peptides. They enabled noninvasive real-time monitoring of oxygen levels in live cancer cells under normal and hypoxic conditions. The required sensitivity, brightness, selectivity, and stability were achieved by tailoring the interaction between the nanomatrix and indicator dyes. The developed nanosensors may become useful for in vivo oxygen measurements.
Project description:Generation, identification, and validation of optical probes to image molecular targets in a biological milieu remain a challenge. Synthetic molecular recognition approaches leveraging the intrinsic near-infrared fluorescence of single-walled carbon nanotubes are promising for long-term biochemical imaging in tissues. However, generation of nanosensors for selective imaging of molecular targets requires a heuristic approach. Here, we present a chemometric platform for rapidly screening libraries of candidate single-walled carbon nanotube nanosensors against biochemical analytes to quantify the fluorescence response to small molecules, including vitamins, neurotransmitters, and chemotherapeutics. We further show this method can be applied to identify biochemical analytes that selectively modulate the intrinsic near-infrared fluorescence of candidate nanosensors. Chemometric analysis thus enables identification of nanosensor-analyte "hits" and also nanosensor fluorescence signaling modalities such as wavelength shifts that are optimal for translation to biological imaging. Through this approach, we identify and characterize a nanosensor for the chemotherapeutic anthracycline doxorubicin (DOX), which provides a ?17 nm fluorescence red-shift and exhibits an 8 ?M limit of detection, compatible with peak circulatory concentrations of doxorubicin common in therapeutic administration. We demonstrate the selectivity of this nanosensor over dacarbazine, a chemotherapeutic commonly co-injected with doxorubicin. Lastly, we establish nanosensor tissue compatibility for imaging of doxorubicin in muscle tissue by incorporating nanosensors into the mouse hindlimb and measuring the nanosensor response to exogenous DOX administration. Our results motivate chemometric approaches to nanosensor discovery for chronic imaging of drug partitioning into tissues and toward real-time monitoring of drug accumulation.
Project description:In this communication we discuss the development of ionophore based nanosensors for the detection and monitoring of histamine levels in vivo. This approach is based on the use of an amine-reactive, broad spectrum ionophore which is capable of recognizing and binding to histamine. We pair this ionophore with our already established nanosensor platform, and demonstrate in vitro and in vivo monitoring of histamine levels. This approach enables capturing rapid kinetics of histamine after injection, which are more difficult to measure with standard approaches such as blood sampling, especially on small research models. The coupling together of in vivo nanosensors with ionophores such as nonactin provide a way to generate nanosensors for novel targets without the difficult process of designing and synthesizing novel ionophores.
Project description:An effective wound management strategy needs accurate assessment of wound status throughout the whole healing process. This can be achieved by examining molecular biomarkers including proteins, DNAs, and RNAs. However, existing methods for quantifying these biomarkers such as immunohistochemistry and quantitative polymerase chain reaction are usually laborious, resource-intensive, and disruptive. This article reports the development and utilization of mRNA nanosensors (i.e., NanoFlare) that are topically applied on cutaneous wounds to reveal the healing status through targeted and semi-quantitative examination of the mRNA biomarkers in skin cells. In 2D and 3D in vitro models, the efficacy and efficiency of these nanosensors are demonstrated in revealing the dynamic changes of mRNA biomarkers for different stages of wound development. In mouse models, this platform permits the tracking and identification of wound healing stages and a normal and diabetic wound healing process by wound healing index in real time.
Project description:Regulation of sodium flux across the cell membrane plays a vital role in the generation of action potentials and regulation of membrane excitability in cells such as cardiomyocytes and neurons. Alteration of sodium channel function has been implicated in diseases such as epilepsy, long QT syndrome, and heart failure. However, single cell imaging of sodium dynamics has been limited due to the narrow selection of fluorescent sodium indicators available to researchers. Here we report, the detection of spatially defined sodium activity during action potentials. Fluorescent nanosensors that measure sodium in real-time, are reversible and are completely selective over other cations such as potassium that were used to image sodium. The use of the nanosensors in vitro was validated by determining drug-induced activation in heterologous cells transfected with the voltage-gated sodium channel Na(V)1.7. Spatial information of sodium concentrations during action potentials will provide insight at the cellular level on the role of sodium and how slight changes in sodium channel function can affect the entirety of an action potential.
Project description:Optode-based fluorescent nanosensors are being developed for monitoring important disease states such as hyponatremia and diabetes. However, traditional optode-based sensors are composed of nonbiodegradable polymers such as poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) raising toxicity concerns for long-term in vivo use. Here, we report the development of the first biodegradable optode-based nanosensors that maintain sensing characteristics similar to those of traditional optode sensors. The polymer matrix of these sensors is composed of polycaprolactone (PCL) and a citric acid ester plasticizer. The PCL-based nanosensors yielded a dynamic and reversible response to sodium, were tuned to respond to extracellular sodium concentrations, and had a lifetime of at least 14 days at physiological temperature. When in the presence of lipase, the nanosensors degraded within 4 h at lipase concentrations found in the liver but were present after 3 days at lipase concentrations found in serum. The development of biodegradable nanosensors is not only a positive step towards their future use in in vivo applications, but they also represent a new sensor platform that can be extended to other sensing mechanisms.