Ubiquitous detection of gram-positive bacteria with bioorthogonal magnetofluorescent nanoparticles Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria
  • Magnets
  • Nanoparticles


  • The ability to rapidly diagnose gram-positive pathogenic bacteria would have far reaching biomedical and technological applications. Here we describe the bioorthogonal modification of small molecule antibiotics (vancomycin and daptomycin), which bind to the cell wall of gram-positive bacteria. The bound antibiotics conjugates can be reacted orthogonally with tetrazine-modified nanoparticles, via an almost instantaneous cycloaddition, which subsequently renders the bacteria detectable by optical or magnetic sensing. We show that this approach is specific, selective, fast and biocompatible. Furthermore, it can be adapted to the detection of intracellular pathogens. Importantly, this strategy enables detection of entire classes of bacteria, a feat that is difficult to achieve using current antibody approaches. Compared to covalent nanoparticle conjugates, our bioorthogonal method demonstrated 1-2 orders of magnitude greater sensitivity. This bioorthogonal labeling method could ultimately be applied to a variety of other small molecules with specificity for infectious pathogens, enabling their detection and diagnosis.

publication date

  • November 22, 2011



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC3222727

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/nn2029692

PubMed ID

  • 21967150

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 8834

end page

  • 41


  • 5


  • 11