Spectrally resolved infrared microscopy and chemometric tools to reveal the interaction between blue light (470 nm) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Violet V. Bumah, Ebrahim Aboualizadeh, Daniela S. Masson-Meyers, Janis T. Eells, Chukuka S. Enwemeka, Carol J. Hirschmugl

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38 Citations (Scopus)


Blue light inactivates methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a Gram-positive antibiotic resistant bacterium that leads to fatal infections; however, the mechanism of bacterial death remains unclear. In this paper, to uncover the mechanism underlying the bactericidal effect of blue light, a combination of Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and chemometric tools is employed to detect the photoreactivity of MRSA and its distinctive pathway toward apoptosis after treatment. The mechanism of action of UV light and vancomycin against MRSA is also investigated to support the findings. Principal component analysis followed by linear discriminant analysis (PCA- LDA) is employed to reveal clustering of five groups of MRSA samples, namely untreated (control I), untreated and incubated at ambient air (control II), irradiated with 470 nm blue light, irradiated with 253.5 UV light, and vancomycin-treated MRSA. Loadings plot from PCA-LDA analysis reveals important functional groups in proteins (1683, 1656, 1596, 1542 cm− 1), lipids (1743, 1409 cm− 1), and nucleic acids region of the spectrum (1060, 1087 cm− 1) that are responsible for the classification of blue light irradiated spectra and control spectra. Cluster vector plots and scores plot reveals that UV light-irradiated spectra are the most biochemically similar to blue light- irradiated spectra; however, some wavenumbers experience a shift. The shifts between blue light and UV light irradiated loadings plot at νasym PO2 − band (from 1228 to 1238 cm− 1), DNA backbone (from 970 to 966 cm− 1) and base pairing vibration of DNA (from 1717 to 1712 cm− 1) suggest distinctive changes in DNA conformation in response to irradiation. Our findings indicate that irradiation of MRSA with 470 nm light induces A-DNA cleavage and that B-DNA is more resistant to damage by blue light. Blue light and UV light treatment of MRSA are complementary and distinct from the known antimicrobial effect of vancomycin. Moreover, it is known that UV-induced cleavage of DNA predominantly targets B-DNA, which is in agreement with the FTIR findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-157
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Blue light (470 nm)
  • DNA
  • FTIR spectromicroscopy
  • MRSA
  • Mechanism of action
  • Vancomycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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