Nitroreductases (NTRs) mediate the reduction of nitroaromatic compounds to the corresponding nitrite, hydroxylamine, or amino derivatives. The activity of NTRs in bacteria facilitates the metabolic activation and antibacterial activity of 5-nitroimidazoles. Therefore, NTR activity correlates with the drug susceptibility and resistance of pathogenic bacteria. As such, it is important to develop a rapid and visual assay for the real-time sensing of bacterial NTRs for the evaluation and development of antibiotics. Herein, an activatable near-infrared fluorescent probe (HC-NO2) derived from a hemicyanine fluorophore was designed and developed based on two evaluation factors, including the calculated partition coefficient (Clog P) and fluorescence wavelength. Using HC-NO2 as the special substrate of NTRs, NTR activity can be assayed efficiently, and then, bacteria can be imaged based on the detection of NTRs. More importantly, a sensitive in-gel assay using HC-NO2 has been developed to selectively identify NTRs and sensitively determine NTR activity. Using the in-gel assay, NTRs from various bacterial species have been profiled visually from the "fluorescence fingerprints", which facilitates the rapid identification of NTRs from bacterial lysates. Thus, various homologous NTRs were identified from three metronidazole-susceptible bacterial species as well as seven unsusceptible species, which were confirmed by the whole-genome sequence. As such, the evaluation of NTRs from different bacterial species should help improve the rational usage of 5-nitroimidazole drugs as antibiotics.
- fluorescent probe
- protein identification
- visual sensing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes