Broad-spectrum antibiotics indiscriminately kill bacteria, removing nonpathogenic microorganisms and leading to evolution of antibiotic resistant strains. Specific antimicrobials that could selectively kill pathogenic bacteria without targeting other bacteria in the natural microbial community or microbiome may be able to address this concern. In this work, we demonstrate that silver nanoparticles, suitably conjugated to a selective cell wall binding domain (CBD), can efficiently target and selectively kill bacteria. As a relevant example, CBDBA from Bacillus anthracis selectively bound to B. anthracis in a mixture with Bacillus subtilis, as well in a mixture with Staphylococcus aureus. This new biologically-assisted hybrid strategy, therefore, has the potential to provide selective decontamination of pathogenic bacteria with minimal impact on normal microflora.
Keywords: Bacillus anthracis; Staphylococcus aureus; bactericidal activity; cell-wall binding domain; silver binding peptide; silver nanoparticles.