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Antibiotic-functionalized Gold Nanoparticles for the Detection of Active β-lactamases

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Publication details

JournalNanoscale Advances
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Dec 2021
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 13 Dec 2021
Number of pages10
Early online date13/12/21
Original languageEnglish


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues to threaten the effective treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. The spread of resistant infections is accelerated by the lack of fast and cost-effective tests for the detection of AMR at the point-of-care. We aimed to address this challenge by developing a diagnostic tool to detect one of the major forms of AMR, the β-lactamase enzymes. Antibiotic-functionalized gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have been successfully developed for the detection of β-lactamases in challenging biological media, namely undiluted urine. Furthermore, these tools are compatible with samples containing a urine sample preservative (boric acid) or hematuria (blood). The functionalized AuNPs interact with the active β-lactamases, resulting in the hydrolysis of the surface-bound antibiotics, which then inhibits binding of the AuNPs to a capture protein (a penicillin-binding protein) to indicate the presence of active β-lactamases. We successfully integrated the antibiotic-functionalized AuNPs into a new lateral flow assay (LFA), which can be used to detect active β-lactamases down to the detection limit of 11 nM. While we demonstrate the use of antibiotic-functionalized AuNPs in an LFA format to provide a novel method of detecting active β-lactamases, these functionalized AuNPs are amenable to a range of alternative diagnostic technologies and could lead to vital point-of-care diagnostics for the early detection of multi-drug resistant infections.


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