A targetable nanogenerator of nitric oxide for light-triggered cytotoxicity†
Nanoscale-vesicles that can target pathogens are valuable for biomedical applications. In this study, a photo-responsive nanogenerator of nitric oxide (NO) comprised of a hydrophobic core of 3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitroaniline (TFNA) and a hydrophilic shell of mannosylated poly[styrene-alter-(maleic acid)] was constructed to target and kill lectin-expressing cells. The release of NO from the nanogenerator (T@P-M) was effectively induced by luminol-derived chemiluminescence (CL), leading to high-efficiency killing of Escherichia coli (E. coli) treated with T@P-M. In addition, the uptake of T@P-M by Raw 264.7 macrophages was achieved by cell surface lectin-mediated endocytosis, enabling the intracellular release of NO from the internalized T@P-M upon the induction of extracellular chemiluminescence. Because in vivo-generated CL can overcome the limited penetration of exogenous light into biological tissues, T@P-M has potential uses as a targetable photo-activatable microbicide to combat pathogens bearing lectins or residing in macrophages.