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Photochem Photobiol. 1992 Jan;55(1):89-96.

Inactivation of gram-negative bacteria by photosensitized porphyrins.

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Department of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel.


Photosensitization of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells by deuteroporphyrin (DP) is shown to be possible in the presence of the polycationic agent polymyxin nonapeptide (PMNP). Previous studies established complete resistance of Gram-negative bacteria to the photodynamic effects of porphyrins. The present results show that combined treatment of E. coli or P. aeruginosa cultures with DP and PMNP inhibit cell growth and viability. No antibacterial activity of PMNP alone could be demonstrated and cell viability remained unchanged. Spectroscopically, PMNP was found to bind DP, a mechanism which probably assists its penetration into the cell's membranes. Insertion of DP into the cells was monitored by the characteristic fluorescence band of bound DP at 622 nm. Binding times were 5-40 min and the extent of binding increased with decreasing the pH from 8.5 to 6.5. DP binding constants, as well as the concentrations of PMNP which were required for maximal effect on the various Gram-negative bacteria, were determined fluorometrically. By the treatment of DP, PMNP and light the growth of E. coli and P. aeruginosa cultures was stopped and the viability of the culture was dramatically reduced. Within 60 min of treatment the survival fraction of E. coli culture was 9 x 10(-6) and that of P. aeruginosa was 5.2 x 10(-4). Electron microscopy depicted ultrastructural alterations in the Gram-negative cells treated by DP and PMNP. The completion of cell division was inhibited and the chromosomal domain was altered markedly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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