A modular phage vector platform for targeted photodynamic therapy of Gram-negative bacterial pathogens

iScience. 2023 Sep 27;26(10):108032. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.108032. eCollection 2023 Oct 20.


Growing antibiotic resistance has encouraged the revival of phage-inspired antimicrobial approaches. On the other hand, photodynamic therapy (PDT) is considered a very promising research domain for the protection against infectious diseases. Yet, very few efforts have been made to combine the advantages of both approaches in a modular, retargetable platform. Here, we foster the M13 bacteriophage as a multifunctional scaffold, enabling the selective photodynamic killing of bacteria. We took advantage of the well-defined molecular biology of M13 to functionalize its capsid with hundreds of photo-activable Rose Bengal sensitizers and contemporarily target this light-triggerable nanobot to specific bacterial species by phage display of peptide targeting moieties fused to the minor coat protein pIII of the phage. Upon light irradiation of the specimen, the targeted killing of diverse Gram(-) pathogens occurred at subnanomolar concentrations of the phage vector. Our findings contribute to the development of antimicrobials based on targeted and triggerable phage-based nanobiotherapeutics.

Keywords: Bacteriology; Biotechnology; Microbiology; Virology.