Nuclear Science and Techniques

《核技术》(英文版) ISSN 1001-8042 CN 31-1559/TL     2019 Impact factor 1.556

Nuclear Science and Techniques ›› 2016, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (3): 56 doi: 10.1007/s41365-016-0067-9


Synchrotron FTIR spectroscopy reveals molecular changes in Escherichia coli upon Cu2+ exposure

Xiao-Juan Hu 1,2  Zhi-Xiao Liu 1,2  Ya-Di Wang 1,2  Xue-Ling Li 3,4  Jun Hu 1  Jun-Hong Lu1   

  1. 1 Division of Physical Biology and CAS Key Laboratory of Interfacial Physics and Technology, Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201800, China
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3 Shanghai Center for Bioinformation Technology, Shanghai Academy of Science and Technology, Shanghai 201203, China
    4 Center for Clinical and Translational Medicine, Shanghai Industrial Technology Institute, Shanghai 201203, China
  • Contact: Jun-Hong Lu
  • Supported by:

    Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 11474298), Shanghai Pujiang Program (No. 13PJ1410500), Special Funds for Enterprise Independent Innovation of Shanghai (CXY- 2013-58) and Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy Sciences.

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Xiao-Juan Hu, Zhi-Xiao Liu, Ya-Di Wang, Xue-Ling Li, Jun Hu, Jun-Hong Lü. Synchrotron FTIR spectroscopy reveals molecular changes in Escherichia coli upon Cu2+ exposure.Nuclear Science and Techniques, 2016, 27(3): 56     doi: 10.1007/s41365-016-0067-9


Copper ions (e.g., Cu2+) have outstanding antibacterial properties, but the exact mechanism is rather complex and not fully understood. In this work, synchrotron Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used as an analytical tool to investigate the CuCl2-induced biochemical changes in Escherichia coli. Our spectral measurements indicated that this technique is sensitive enough to detect changes in membrane lipids, nucleic acids, peptidoglycans and proteins of Cu2+-treated bacteria. Interestingly, for short-time treated cells, the effects on phospholipid composition were clearly shown, while no significant alterations of proteins, nucleic acids and peptidoglycans were found. PeakForce quantitative nano-mechanics mode atomic force microscopy (AFM) confirmed the changes in the topography and mechanical properties of bacteria upon the Cu2+ exposure. This study demonstrated that FTIR spectroscopy combined with AFM can provide more comprehensive evaluation on the biochemical and mechanical responses of bacteria to copper.

Key words: Copper ions, Antibacterial effect, Escherichia coli, Synchrotron FTIR spectroscopy, Atomic force microscopy