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Enhanced Antibacterial Activity of Se Nanoparticles Upon Coating with Recombinant Spider Silk Protein eADF4(κ16)

Authors Huang T, Kumari S, Herold H, Bargel H, Aigner TB, Heath DE, O'Brien-Simpson NM, O'Connor AJ, Scheibel T

Received 30 March 2020

Accepted for publication 14 May 2020

Published 17 June 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 4275—4288


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Phong A Tran

Tao Huang,1,2 Sushma Kumari,2 Heike Herold,2 Hendrik Bargel,2 Tamara B Aigner,2 Daniel E Heath,1 Neil M O’Brien-Simpson,3 Andrea J O’Connor,1 Thomas Scheibel2,4

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia; 2Department for Biomaterials, Faculty of Engineering Science, University of Bayreuth, Prof. Rüdiger Bormann Str. 1, Bayreuth 95447, Germany; 3Melbourne Dental School and the Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia; 4Bavarian Polymer Institute (BPI), Bayreuth Center for Material Science and Engineering (BayMAT), Bayreuth Center for Colloids and Interfaces (BZKG), Bayreuth Center for Molecular Biosciences (BZMB), University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth 95447, Germany

Correspondence: Andrea J O’Connor; Thomas Scheibel Tel +61 3 8344 8962
; +49 (0)921/55-6701

Purpose: Selenium nanoparticles (Se NPs) are promising antibacterial agents to tackle the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance. The aim of this study was to fabricate Se NPs with a net positive charge to enhance their antibacterial efficacy.
Methods: Se NPs were coated with a positively charged protein – recombinant spider silk protein eADF4(κ 16) – to give them a net positive surface charge. Their cytotoxicity and antibacterial activity were investigated, with negatively charged polyvinyl alcohol coated Se NPs as a control. Besides, these eADF4(κ 16)-coated Se NPs were immobilized on the spider silk films, and the antibacterial activity of these films was investigated.
Results: Compared to the negatively charged polyvinyl alcohol coated Se NPs, the positively charged eADF4(κ 16)-coated Se NPs demonstrated a much higher bactericidal efficacy against the Gram-negative bacteria E. coli, with a minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) approximately 50 times lower than that of negatively charged Se NPs. Cytotoxicity testing showed that the eADF4(κ 16)-coated Se NPs are safe to both Balb/3T3 mouse embryo fibroblasts and HaCaT human skin keratinocytes up to 31 μg/mL, which is much higher than the MBC of these particles against E. coli (8 ± 1 μg/mL). In addition, antibacterial coatings were created by immobilising the eADF4(κ 16)-coated Se NPs on positively charged spider silk films and these were shown to retain good bactericidal efficacy and overcome the issue of low particle stability in culture broth. It was found that these Se NPs needed to be released from the film surface in order to exert their antibacterial effects and this release can be regulated by the surface charge of the film, such as the change of the spider silk protein used.
Conclusion: Overall, eADF4(κ 16)-coated Se NPs are promising new antibacterial agents against life-threatening bacteria.

Keywords: Gram-positive, Gram-negative, E. coli, antibacterial film, cytotoxicity

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