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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2000 Dec;59(1-3):152-8.

Polylysine-porphycene conjugates as efficient photosensitizers for the inactivation of microbial pathogens.

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Department of Biology, University of Padova, Italy.


Porphycenes are electronic isomers of porphyrins which, when neutral, display no appreciable photosensitizing action towards Gram-negative bacteria. The covalent binding of oligomeric polylysine moieties, which are cationic at physiological pH values, endows porphycenes with a significant phototoxic activity against Gram-negative bacteria while retaining their photoefficiency against a variety of microbial pathogens, including Gram-positive bacteria, fungi and mycoplasmas. The effect of the polylysine moiety is dependent on both the polylysine concentration and the degree of oligomerization. A suitable interplay among the various parameters opens the possibility to obtain either a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity or a selective action toward a specific pathogen while minimizing the damage to human fibroblasts.

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