Characterization of Key Bio-Nano Interactions between Organosilica Nanoparticles and Candida albicans

Vidhishri Kesarwani, Hannah G. Kelly, Madhu Shankar, Kye J. Robinson, Stephen J. Kent, Ana Traven, Simon R. Corrie

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Nanoparticle-cell interactions between silica nanomaterials and mammalian cells have been investigated extensively in the context of drug delivery, diagnostics, and imaging. While there are also opportunities for applications in infectious disease, the interactions of silica nanoparticles with pathogenic microbes are relatively underexplored. To bridge this knowledge gap, here, we investigate the effects of organosilica nanoparticles of different sizes, concentrations, and surface coatings on surface association and viability of the major human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. We show that uncoated and PEGylated organosilica nanoparticles associate with C. albicans in a size and concentration-dependent manner, but on their own, do not elicit antifungal activity. The particles are also shown to associate with human white blood cells, in a similar trend as observed with C. albicans, and remain noncytotoxic toward neutrophils. Smaller particles are shown to have low association with C. albicans in comparison to other sized particles and their association with blood cells was also observed to be minimal. We further demonstrate that by chemically immobilizing the clinically important echinocandin class antifungal drug, caspofungin, to PEGylated nanoparticles, the cell-material interaction changes from benign to antifungal, inhibiting C. albicans growth when provided in high local concentration on a surface. Our study provides the foundation for defining how organosilica particles could be tailored for clinical applications against C. albicans. Possible future developments include designing biomaterials that could detect, prevent, or treat bloodstream C. albicans infections, which at present have very high patient mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34676-34687
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2019


  • blood cells
  • Candida albicans
  • caspofungin
  • cell association
  • cytotoxicity
  • organosilica

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