The emergence and spread of pathogenic bacteria, particularly antibiotic-resistant strains pose grave global concerns worldwide, which demand for the rapid development of highly selective and sensitive strategies for specific bacterial detection, identification, imaging and therapy. The fascinating feature of aggregation-induced emissive molecules (AIEgens) to display fluorescence in aggregate form can be suitably coupled with nanotechnology for developing theranostic AIE dots that can offer convenient and customised functions such as sensing, imaging, detection, discrimination and cell kill of different bacterial types. The initial section of the article reveals the necessity for incorporating diagnostic imaging with antibacterial therapy, while the latter part delivers mechanistic insights on the benefits of AIE fluorophores in theranostic applications. Further, the review illustrates the recent advancements of AIEgens as theranostic nanolights in bacterial detection, identification and eradication. The review is organised according to the different classes of AIE-active bacterial theranostics such as carrier-free nanoprodrugs, nanomachines for synergistic imaging-guided cancer treatment and bacterial kill, AIE polymers, bioconjugates and nanoparticle carriers. By elucidating their design principles and applications, as well as highlighting the recent trends and perspectives that can be further explored, we hope to instill more research interest in AIE bacterial theranostics for future translational research.Highlights Combination of aggregation induced emissive fluorophores and nanotechnology for developing bacterial theranostics. AIE theranostics with customised functions for bacterial imaging, detection, discrimination and cell kill.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmaceutical Science