Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles Induce Cell Filamentation in Escherichia coli

Authors

  • Cindy Gunawan,

    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials, School of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Wey Yang Teoh,

    1. Clean Energy and Nanotechnology (CLEAN) Laboratory, School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong S. A. R.
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  • Ricardo,

    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials, School of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Christopher P. Marquis,

    1. School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Rose Amal

    Corresponding author
    • ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials, School of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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E-mail: r.amal@unsw.edu.au

Abstract

Zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) induce morphological transformation of Escherichia coli from its native rod-shape of ≈2–4 μm to filamentous cells of 20–40 μm in length. The transient response can only be observed at up to 3.5 h proliferation, beyond which the cytotoxic effect is neutralized and the rod-shape is restored. The filamentation is part of the bacterium SOS response to the Trojan horse-type internalization of undissolved ZnO solids. In the absence of ZnO solids, no cell filamentation can be observed from the leached soluble zinc fraction or dissolved zinc salt.

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