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Enzyme-Functionalized Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles to Target Staphylococcus aureus and Disperse Biofilms

Authors Devlin H, Fulaz S, Hiebner DW, O'Gara JP, Casey E

Received 20 November 2020

Accepted for publication 9 February 2021

Published 8 March 2021 Volume 2021:16 Pages 1929—1942


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Anderson Oliveira Lobo

Henry Devlin,1,* Stephanie Fulaz,1,* Dishon Wayne Hiebner,1 James P O’Gara,2 Eoin Casey1

1UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland; 2Department of Microbiology, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Eoin Casey
UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland
Email [email protected]

Background: Staphylococcus aureus biofilms pose a unique challenge in healthcare due to their tolerance to a wide range of antimicrobial agents. The high cost and lengthy timeline to develop novel therapeutic agents have pushed researchers to investigate the use of nanomaterials to deliver antibiofilm agents and target biofilm infections more efficiently. Previous studies have concentrated on improving the efficacy of antibiotics by deploying nanoparticles as nanocarriers. However, the dispersal of the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix in biofilm-associated infections is also critical to the development of novel nanoparticle-based therapies.
Methods: This study evaluated the efficacy of enzyme-functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) biofilms. MSNs were functionalized with the enzyme lysostaphin, which causes cell lysis of S. aureus bacteria. This was combined with two other enzyme functionalized MSNs, serrapeptase and DNase I which will degrade protein and eDNA in the EPS matrix, to enhance eradication of the biofilm. Cell viability after treatment with enzyme-functionalized MSNs was assessed using a MTT assay and CLSM, while crystal violet staining was used to assess EPS removal.
Results: The efficacy of all three enzymes against S. aureus cells and biofilms was significantly improved when they were immobilized onto MSNs. Treatment efficacy was further enhanced when the three enzymes were used in combination against both MRSA and MSSA. Regardless of biofilm maturity (24 or 48 h), near-complete dispersal and killing of MRSA biofilms were observed after treatment with the enzyme-functionalized MSNs. Disruption of mature MSSA biofilms with a polysaccharide EPS was less efficient, but cell viability was significantly reduced.
Conclusion: The combination of these three enzymes and their functionalization onto nanoparticles might extend the therapeutic options for the treatment of S. aureus infections, particularly those with a biofilm component.

Keywords: MRSA, lysostaphin, antimicrobial, antibiofilm, EPS matrix

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