Visible-Light-Activated Molecular Machines Kill Fungi by Necrosis Following Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Calcium Overload.
Invasive fungal infections are a growing public health threat. As fungi become increasingly resistant to existing drugs, new antifungals are urgently needed. Here, it is reported that 405-nm-visible-light-activated synthetic molecular machines (MMs) eliminate planktonic and biofilm fungal populations more effectively than conventional antifungals without resistance development. Mechanism-of-action studies show that MMs bind to fungal mitochondrial phospholipids. Upon visible light activation, rapid unidirectional drilling of MMs at ≈3 million cycles per second (MHz) results in mitochondrial dysfunction, calcium overload, and ultimately necrosis. Besides their direct antifungal effect, MMs synergize with conventional antifungals by impairing the activity of energy-dependent efflux pumps. Finally, MMs potentiate standard antifungals both in vivo and in an ex vivo porcine model of onychomycosis, reducing the fungal burden associated with infection.
Adv Sci (Weinh)
Santos, A., Beckham, J., Liu, D., Li, G., van Venrooy, A., Oliver, A., Tegos, G. P., & Tour, J. (2023). Visible-Light-Activated Molecular Machines Kill Fungi by Necrosis Following Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Calcium Overload.. Adv Sci (Weinh), 10 (10), e2205781-e2205781. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/advs.202205781