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The antibacterial activity of a photoactivatable diarylacetylene against Gram-positive bacteria

Waite, Ryan; Adams, Candace T.; Chisholm, David R.; Sims, C. H. Cole; Hughes, Joshua G.; Dias, Eva; White, Emily A.; Welsby, Kathryn; Botchway, Stanley W.; Whiting, Andrew; Sharples, Gary J.; Ambler, Carrie A.

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Ryan Waite
PGR Student Doctor of Philosophy

Candace T. Adams

David R. Chisholm

C. H. Cole Sims

Joshua G. Hughes

Eva Dias

Emily A. White

Kathryn Welsby

Stanley W. Botchway


The emergence of antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to human health, and therefore, alternatives to existing compounds are urgently needed. In this context, a novel fluorescent photoactivatable diarylacetylene has been identified and characterised for its antibacterial activity, which preferentially eliminates Gram-positive over Gram-negative bacteria. Experiments confirmed that the Gram-negative lipopolysaccharide-rich outer surface is responsible for tolerance, as strains with reduced outer membrane integrity showed increased susceptibility. Additionally, bacteria deficient in oxidative damage repair pathways also displayed enhanced sensitivity, confirming that reactive oxygen species production is the mechanism of antibacterial activity. This new diarylacetylene shows promise as an antibacterial agent against Gram-positive bacteria that can be activated in situ, potentially for the treatment of skin infections.


Waite, R., Adams, C. T., Chisholm, D. R., Sims, C. H. C., Hughes, J. G., Dias, E., …Ambler, C. A. (2023). The antibacterial activity of a photoactivatable diarylacetylene against Gram-positive bacteria. Frontiers in Microbiology, 14, Article 1243818.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 7, 2023
Online Publication Date Sep 22, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Oct 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date Oct 18, 2023
Journal Frontiers in Microbiology
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Article Number 1243818
Keywords Gram-positive bacteria, antimicrobial resistance, photodynamic therapy, lipopolysaccharides, reactive oxygen species
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Copyright Statement
Copyright: 2023 Waite, Adams, Chisholm, Sims, Hughes, Dias, White, Welsby, Botchway, Whiting, Sharples and Ambler. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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