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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 1998 Nov;50(5):511-9.

Mechanistic action of pediocin and nisin: recent progress and unresolved questions.

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Department of Food Science, Cook College, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick 08901, USA.


Nisin and pediocin PA-1 are examples of bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that have found practical applications as food preservatives. Like other natural antimicrobial peptides, LAB bacteriocins act primarily at the cytoplasmic membranes of susceptible microorganisms. Studies with in vivo as well as in vitro membrane systems are directed toward understanding how bacteriocins interact with membranes so as to provide a mechanistic basis for their rational applications. The dissipation of proton motive force was identified early on as the common mechanism for the lethal activity of LAB bacteriocin. Models for nisin/membrane interactions propose that the peptide forms poration complexes in the membrane through a multistep process of binding, insertion, and pore formation. This review focuses on the current knowledge of: (1) the mechanistic action of nisin and pediocin-like bacteriocins, (2) the requirement for a cell factor such as a membrane protein, (3) the influence of membrane potential, pH, and lipid composition on the specificity and efficacy of bacteriocins, and (4) the roles of specific amino acids and structural domains of the bacteriocins in their action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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