Multidrug resistance of bacteria is a major challenge due to the wide-spread use of antibiotics. While a range of strategies have been developed in recent years, suppression of bacterial activity and virulence via their network of extracellular amyloid has rarely been explored, especially with nanomaterials. Here, silver nanoparticles and nanoclusters (AgNPs and AgNCs) capped with cationic branched polyethylenimine polymer are synthesized, and their antimicrobial potentials are determined at concentrations safe to mammalian cells. Compared with the ultrasmall AgNCs, AgNPs entail stronger binding to suppress the fibrillization of FapC, a major protein constituent of the extracellular amyloid matrix of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Both types of nanoparticles exhibit concentration-dependent antibiofilm and antimicrobial properties against P. aeruginosa. At concentrations of 1 × 10−6 m or below, both the bactericidal activity of AgNCs and the antibiofilm capacity of AgNPs are associated with their structure-mediated bio–nano interactions but not ion release. For AgNPs, specifically, their antibiofilm potency correlates with their capacity of FapC fibrillization inhibition, but not with their bactericidal activity. This study demonstrates the antimicrobial potential of safe nanotechnology through the novel route of amyloidosis inhibition.
- silver nanoclusters
- silver nanoparticles