Reactivity Differences Enable ROS for Selective Ablation of Bacteria

Xiaofeng Wu, Mengyao Yang, Ji Seon Kim, Rui Wang, Gyoungmi Kim, Jeongsun Ha, Heejeong Kim, Yejin Cho, Ki Taek Nam, Juyoung Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


An effective strategy to engineer selective photodynamic agents to surmount bacterial-infected diseases, especially Gram-positive bacteria remains a great challenge. Herein, we developed two examples of compounds for a proof-of-concept study where reactive differences in reactive oxygen species (ROS) can induce selective ablation of Gram-positive bacteria. Sulfur-replaced phenoxazinium (NBS-N) mainly generates a superoxide anion radical capable of selectively killing Gram-positive bacteria, while selenium-substituted phenoxazinium (NBSe-N) has a higher generation of singlet oxygen that can kill both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. This difference was further evidenced by bacterial fluorescence imaging and morphological changes. Moreover, NBS-N can also successfully heal the Gram-positive bacteria-infected wounds in mice. We believe that such reactive differences may pave a general way to design selective photodynamic agents for ablating Gram-positive bacteria-infected diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202200808
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number17
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J. Y. thanks the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2021R1A6A1A10039823). K. T. N. thanks the support by Korea Mouse Phenotyping Project (NRF‐2016M3A9D5A01952416). M. Y. thanks the China Scholarship Council (CSC, No. 201904910820). This work is supported by Korea Basic Science Institute (National Research Facilities and Equipment Center) grant funded by the Ministry of Education (2020R1A6C101B194)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


  • Antibacterial Agents
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria
  • Photodynamic Therapy
  • Reactivity Difference
  • Selective Ablation


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