Tetracycline nanoparticles as antibacterial and gene-silencing agents

Ulyana Shimanovich, Anat Lipovsky, Dror Eliaz, Sally Zigdon, Tuomas P.J. Knowles, Yeshayahu Nitzan, Shulamit Michaeli, Aharon Gedanken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and parasites calls for the development of new therapeutic strategies with could potentially reverse this trend. Here, a proposal is presented to exploit a sonochemical method to restore the antibiotic activity of tetracycline (TTCL) against resistant bacteria by converting the antibiotic into a nanoparticulate form. The demonstrated sonochemical method allows nanoscale TTCL assembly to be driven by supramolecular hydrogen bond formation, with no further modification to the antibiotic's chemical structure. It is shown that tetracycline nanoparticles (TTCL NPs) can act as antibacterial agents, both against TTCL sensitive and against resistant bacterial strains. Moreover, the synthesized antibiotic nanoparticles (NPs) can act as effective gene-silencing agents through the use of a TTCL repressor in Trypanosome brucei parasites. It is demonstrated that the NPs are nontoxic to human cells and T. brucei parasites and are able to release their monomer components in an active form in a manner that results in enhanced antimicrobial activity relative to a homogeneous solution of the precursor monomer. As the TTCL NPs are biocompatible and biodegradable, sonochemical formation of TTCL NPs represents a new promising approach for generation of pharmaceutically active nanomaterials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-728
Number of pages6
JournalAdvanced healthcare materials
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.


  • Antibiotics
  • Nanoparticles
  • Resistant bacteria
  • Sonochemistry


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