Fluorescent Probe for Bacterial Cell Imaging and Screening of New Antibacterial Drugs

Visualization of the impact of FtsZ-targeting drug treatment in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial strains using BOFP. Bacteria were labeled with BOFP for 5 minutes just prior to visualization. Differential interference contrast (DIC) shows unstained bacteria and fluorescence shows BOFP-labeled bacteria.

Invention Summary:

At least 2.8 million people are infected, and more than 35,000 people die every year as a result of drug-resistant bacterial infections in the United States. There is an urgent need to develop new antibiotics against known and novel targets. FtsZ, an essential bacterial cell division protein is a promising target for the development of new antibacterial drugs.

Rutgers scientists have designed a new fluorescent probe (BOFP) that can bind to FtsZ in a wide range of clinically important Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria with high affinity. Inventors have shown that this probe can fluorescently label bacteria for imaging and can be used to monitor the efficacy of FtsZ-targeting anti-bacterial drugs. BOFP can be used as a robust tool for identifying new broad-spectrum FtsZ inhibitors as antibiotic agents and to understand their mechanisms of action.


Market Applications:

Drug screening; Fluorescent probe for microbial imaging


  • Quickly labels a wide range of bacterial pathogens of acute clinical importance
  • Effective for screening new antibiotics
  • Robust and easy to use fluorescent probe for bacterial cell imaging

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaboration.

Relevant Publication:

Ferrer-González, E. et al. (2019), Structure-Guided Design of a Fluorescent Probe for the Visualization of FtsZ in Clinically Important Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacterial Pathogens. Scientific Reports, 9:20092. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-56557-x.

Patent Information:
Shemaila Sultana
Assistant Director
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Drug Discovery/Screening