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J Antibiot (Tokyo). 1999 Jul;52(7):613-9.

Antiviral and hemolytic activities of surfactin isoforms and their methyl ester derivatives.

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Robert Koch-Institut, Retrovirologie, Nordufer 20, Berlin, Germany.


Inactivation of enveloped viruses (VSV, SFV, and SHV-1) by surfactin lipopeptides was dependent on the hydrophobicity, i.e. the number of carbon atoms of the fatty acid, and on the charge of the peptide moiety as well as on the virus species. Surfactins with fatty acid chains of 13 carbon atoms showed very low antiviral activity in comparison to C14 and C15 isoforms. C15 surfactin monomethyl ester also inactivated SFV which was resistant to the mixture of surfactin isoforms as produced by Bacillus subtilis. In contrast, the dimethyl ester showed no virus-inactivation capacity. Disintegration of viral structures as determined by electron microscopy after inactivation of VSV and SFV was comparable to the titer reduction. The effect of the surfactin isoforms and methyl esters on erythrocyte hemolysis correlated with the virus-inactivation capacity. Surfactins with a fatty acid chain moiety of 15 carbon atoms and one negative charge showed the highest antiviral activity.

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