Red/Far-Red Light Switchable Cargo Attachment and Release in Bacteria-Driven Microswimmers.
Abstract: In bacteria-driven microswimmers, i.e., bacteriabots, artificial cargos are attached to flagellated chemotactic bacteria for active delivery with potential applications in biomedical technology. Controlling when and where bacteria bind and release their cargo is a critical step for bacteriabot fabrication and efficient cargo delivery/deposition at the target site. Toward this goal, photoregulating the cargo integration and release in bacteriabots using red and far-red light, which are noninvasive stimuli with good tissue penetration and provide high spatiotemporal control, is proposed. In the bacteriabot design, the surfaces of E. coli and microsized model cargo particles with the proteins PhyB and PIF6, which bind to each other under red light and dissociate from each other under far-red light are functionalized. Consequently, the engineered bacteria adhere and transport the model cargo under red light and release it on-demand upon far-red light illumination due to the photoswitchable PhyB-PIF6 protein interaction. Overall, the proof-of-concept for red/far-red light switchable bacteriabots, which opens new possibilities in the photoregulation in biohybrid systems for bioengineering, targeted drug delivery, and lab-on-a-chip devices, is demonstrated.