Killing of Staphylococcus aureus via Magnetic Hyperthermia Mediated by Magnetotactic Bacteria

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2016 Feb 12;82(7):2219-26. doi: 10.1128/AEM.04103-15.


Staphylococcus aureus is a common hospital and household pathogen. Given the emergence of antibiotic-resistant derivatives of this pathogen resulting from the use of antibiotics as general treatment, development of alternative therapeutic strategies is urgently needed. Here, we assess the feasibility of killing S. aureus cells in vitro and in vivo through magnetic hyperthermia mediated by magnetotactic bacteria that possess magnetic nanocrystals and demonstrate magnetically steered swimming. The S. aureus suspension was added to magnetotactic MO-1 bacteria either directly or after coating with anti-MO-1 polyclonal antibodies. The suspensions were then subjected to an alternating magnetic field (AMF) for 1 h. S. aureus viability was subsequently assessed through conventional plate counting and flow cytometry. We found that approximately 30% of the S. aureus cells mixed with uncoated MO-1 cells were killed after AMF treatment. Moreover, attachment between the magnetotactic bacteria and S. aureus increased the killing efficiency of hyperthermia to more than 50%. Using mouse models, we demonstrated that magnetic hyperthermia mediated by antibody-coated magnetotactic MO-1 bacteria significantly improved wound healing. These results collectively demonstrated the effective eradication of S. aureus both in vitro and in vivo, indicating the potential of magnetotactic bacterium-mediated magnetic hyperthermia as a treatment for S. aureus-induced skin or wound infections.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiosis
  • Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Biological Therapy
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Fields
  • Magnetics / methods*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microbial Viability
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / therapy
  • Staphylococcus aureus / chemistry*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development