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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2003 Aug;47(8):2538-44.

Correlation of daptomycin bactericidal activity and membrane depolarization in Staphylococcus aureus.

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  • 1Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Lexington, Massachusetts 02421, USA.


The objective of this study was to further elucidate the role of membrane potential in the mechanism of action of daptomycin, a novel lipopeptide antibiotic. Membrane depolarization was measured by both fluorimetric and flow cytometric assays. Adding daptomycin (5 micro g/ml) to Staphylococcus aureus gradually dissipated membrane potential. In both assays, cell viability was reduced by >99% and membrane potential was reduced by >90% within 30 min of adding daptomycin. Cell viability decreased in parallel with changes in membrane potential, demonstrating a temporal correlation between bactericidal activity and membrane depolarization. Decreases in viability and potential also showed a dose-dependent correlation. Depolarization is indicative of ion movement across the cytoplasmic membrane. Fluorescent probes were used to demonstrate Ca(2+)-dependent, daptomycin-triggered potassium release from S. aureus. Potassium release was also correlated with bactericidal activity. This study demonstrates a clear correlation between dissipation of membrane potential and the bactericidal activity of daptomycin. A multistep model for daptomycin's mechanism of action is proposed.

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