Review on nanoparticles as efflux pump and biofilm inhibitors

These versatile particles have a wide range of uses.

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It's easy to think of metallic nanoparticles as large, non-specific agents of chaos when it comes to their interaction with the bacterial cell. Gupta et al. however think differently and have put together a useful mini-review to detail the recent research on how nanoparticles can be used to inhibit efflux of antibiotics as well as specifically targeting biofilms.

Nanoparticles as Efflux Pump and Biofilm Inhibitor to Rejuvenate Bactericidal Effect of Conventional Antibiotics


The universal problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotic reflects a serious threat for physicians to control infections. Evolution in bacteria results in the development of various complex resistance mechanisms to neutralize the bactericidal effect of antibiotics, like drug amelioration, target modification, membrane permeability reduction, and drug extrusion through efflux pumps. Efflux pumps acquire a wide range of substrate specificity and also the tremendous efficacy for drug molecule extrusion outside bacterial cells. Hindrance in the functioning of efflux pumps may rejuvenate the bactericidal effect of conventional antibiotics. Efflux pumps also play an important role in the exclusion or inclusion of quorum-sensing biomolecules responsible for biofilm formation in bacterial cells. This transit movement of quorum-sensing biomolecules inside or outside the bacterial cells may get interrupted by impeding the functioning of efflux pumps. Metallic nanoparticles represent a potential candidate to block efflux pumps of bacterial cells. The application of nanoparticles as efflux pump inhibitors will not only help to revive the bactericidal effect of conventional antibiotics but will also assist to reduce biofilm-forming capacity of microbes. This review focuses on a novel and fascinating application of metallic nanoparticles in synergy with conventional antibiotics for efflux pump inhibition.


Nanoscale Res Lett. 2017 Dec;12(1):454. doi: 10.1186/s11671-017-2222-6. Epub 2017 Jul 13.
Nanoparticles as Efflux Pump and Biofilm Inhibitor to Rejuvenate Bactericidal Effect of Conventional Antibiotics.

Gupta D, Singh A, Khan AU.

Ben Libberton

Science Communicator, Freelance

I'm a freelance science communicator, formerly a Postdoc in the biofilm field. I'm interested in how bacteria cause disease and look to technology to produce novel tools to study and ultimately prevent infection.