Bacteria-mediated delivery of nanoparticles and cargo into cells

Demir Akin, Jennifer Sturgis, Kathy Ragheb, Debby Sherman, Kristin Burkholder, J. Paul Robinson, Arun K. Bhunia, Sulma Mohammed, Rashid Bashir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanoparticles and bacteria can be used, independently, to deliver genes and proteins into mammalian cells for monitoring or altering gene expression and protein production. Here, we show the simultaneous use of nanoparticles and bacteria to deliver DNA-based model drug molecules in vivo and in vitro. In our approach, cargo (in this case, a fluorescent or a bioluminescent gene) is loaded onto the nanoparticles, which are carried on the bacteria surface. When incubated with cells, the cargo-carrying bacteria ('microbots') were internalized by the cells, and the genes released from the nanoparticles were expressed in the cells. Mice injected with microbots also successfully expressed the genes as seen by the luminescence in different organs. This new approach may be used to deliver different types of cargo into live animals and a variety of cells in culture without the need for complicated genetic manipulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-449
Number of pages9
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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