Biodegradable luminescent porous silicon nanoparticles for in vivo applications <br><br>Cooperation and conflict in quorum-sensing bacterial populations

Condensed Matter journal club

Biodegradable luminescent porous silicon nanoparticles for in vivo applications <br><br>Cooperation and conflict in quorum-sensing bacterial populations

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 6th March 2009
  • Speaker: Chantal Valeriani (Formerly School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details


Nanomaterials that can circulate in the body hold great potential to diagnose and treat disease1–4. For such applications, it is important that the nanomaterials be harmlessly eliminated from the body in a reasonable period of time after they carry out their diagnostic or therapeutic function. Despite efforts to improve their targeting efficiency, significant quantities of systemically administered nanomaterials are cleared by the mononuclear phagocytic system before finding their targets, increasing the likelihood of unintended acute or chronic toxicity. However, there has been little effort to engineer the self-destruction of errant nanoparticles into non-toxic, systemically eliminated products. Here, we present luminescent porous silicon nanoparticles (LPSiNPs) that can carry a drug payload and of which the intrinsic near-infrared photoluminescence enables monitoring of both accumulation and degradation in vivo. Furthermore, in contrast to most optically active nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes, gold nanoparticles and quantum dots), LPSiNPs self-destruct in a mouse model into renally cleared components in a relatively short period of time with no evidence of toxicity. As a preliminary in vivo application, we demonstrate tumour imaging using dextran-coated LPSiNPs (D-LPSiNPs). These results demonstrate a newtype of multifunctional nanostructure with a low-toxicity degradation pathway for in vivo applications.
Nature Mat. 8 331-336 (2009)

It has been suggested that bacterial cells communicate by releasing and sensing small diffusible signal molecules in a process commonly known as quorum sensing (QS)1–4. It is generally assumed that QS is used to coordinate cooperative behaviours at the population level3,5. However, evolutionary theory predicts that individuals who communicate and cooperate can be exploited6–10. Here we examine the social evolution of QS experimentally in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and show that although QS can provide a benefit at the group level, exploitative individuals can avoid the cost of producing the QS signal or of performing the cooperative behaviour that is coordinated by QS, and can therefore spread. We also show that a solution to the problem of exploitation is kin selection, if interacting bacterial cells tend to be close relatives. These results show that the problem of exploitation, which has been the focus of considerable attention in animal communication, also arises in bacteria.
Nature 450 411-415 (2007)


J.-H. Park, L. Gu, G. von Maltzahn, E. Ruoslahti, S.N. Bhatia and M.J. Sailor

S.P. Diggle, A.S. Griffin, G.S. Campbell and S.A. West