Nano Lett. 2021 Feb 22. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c04451. Online ahead of print.
One major frustration in developing antibiotics is that bacteria can quickly develop resistance that would require an entirely new cycle of research and clinical testing to overcome. Although plenty of bactericidal nanomaterials have been developed against increasingly severe superbugs, few reports have studied the resistance to these nanomaterials. Herein, we show that antibacterial 4,6-diamino-2-pyrimidine thiol (DAPT)-capped gold nanoparticles (AuDAPTs) can induce a 16-fold increased minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of E. coli only after very long term exposure (183 days), without developing cross-resistance to commercialized antibiotics. Strikingly, we recovered the bactericidal activities of AuDAPTs to the resistant strain by tuning the sizes of AuDAPTs without employing new chemicals. Such slow, easy-to-handle resistance induced by AuDAPTs is unprecedented compared to traditional antibiotics or other nanomaterials. In addition to the novel antibacterial activities and biocompatibilities, our approach will accelerate the development of gold nanomaterial-based therapeutics against multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacterial infections.