National Research Council of Canada. Medical Devices
National Research Council of Canada. Human Health Therapeutics
homopropargylglycine; bioorthogonal chemistry; verotoxigenic; E. coli; Listeria; metabolic labeling; click reaction; live versus dead screening
Pathogenic bacteria can be a major cause of illness from environmental sources as well as the consumption of contaminated products, giving rise to public health concerns globally. The surveillance of such living organisms in food and water supplies remains an important challenge in mitigating their deleterious societal effects. Here, we have developed an optimized bioorthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging approach to the imaging, capture, and interrogation of shigatoxigenic/verotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) and Listeria that enables the distinction between living wild-type pathogenic bacteria. The approaches utilize homopropargylglycine (HPG), as well as optimized growth media, that restricts endogenous methionine biosynthesis in a variety of species of public health concern. Endogenous methionine residues are then replaced with HPG, which can then be modified using a myriad of compatible bioorthogonal reactions for tagging of exclusively live bacteria. The methods reported allow for the very rapid screening and identification of living pathogenic organisms.