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J Photochem Photobiol B. 1991 Dec;11(3-4):295-306.

In vivo effects of porphyrins on bacterial DNA.

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


The DNA damage in intact Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli cells induced by photosensitized deuteroporphyrin or hemin is described. Treatment of S. aureus cultures with hemin or photosensitized deuteroporphyrin (Dp) caused time-dependent changes in the plasmidial DNA profiles. The major observation was the disappearance of the plasmid supercoiled fraction. The chromosomal DNA was also affected by hemin and by photosensitized Dp, since its degradation products were detected after exposing the bacterial cells to the porphyrin drugs. Photosensitization of E. coli cells, pretreated with Dp and polymyxin B nonapeptide (PMBNP), also resulted in plasmidial damage. No such damage occurred when E. coli cultures were treated with hemin and PMBNP. The above results can be tightly correlated with the antimicrobial action of porphyrins. Their damage to the bacterial DNA seems to reflect one of the in vivo effects of these porphyrins.

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