• M13 bacteriophage;
  • optical imaging;
  • fluorescent dye;
  • bacterial infections


We report a first method for using M13 bacteriophage as a multifunctional scaffold for optically imaging bacterial infections in vivo. We demonstrate that M13 virus conjugated with hundreds of dye molecules (M13-Dye) can target and distinguish pathogenic infections of F- pili expressing and F -negative strains of E. coli. Further, in order to tune this M13-Dye complex suitable for targeting other strains of bacteria, we have used a 1-step reaction for creating an anti-bacterial antibody -M13-Dye probe. As an example, we show anti-S. aureus -M13-Dye able to target and image infections of S. aureus in living hosts, with a 3.7× increase in fluorescence over background. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)