Investigating the Interaction of Octapeptin A3 with Model Bacterial Membranes

Mei Ling Han, Hsin Hui Shen, Karl A. Hansford, Elena K. Schneider, Sivashangarie Sivanesan, Kade D. Roberts, Philip E. Thompson, Anton P Le Brun, Yan Zhu, Marc-Antoine Sani, Frances Separovic, Mark A T Blaskovich, Mark A. Baker, Samuel M. Moskowitz, Matthew A Cooper, Jian Li, Tony Velkov

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Octapeptins are cyclic lipopeptides with a broader spectrum of activity against fungi and polymyxin-resistant Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. In the present study, we investigated the interaction of octapeptin A3 with asymmetric outer membrane models of Gram-negative pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa using neutron reflectometry, together with fluorimetric and calorimetry methods. For the first time, our neutron reflectometry results reveal that the interaction of octapeptin A3 with the Gram-negative outer membrane involves an initial transient polar interaction with the phospholipid and lipid A headgroups, followed by the penetration of the entire octapeptin molecule into the fatty acyl core of the outer membrane. This mechanism contrasts with that of polymyxin B, which specifically targets lipid A, whereas octapeptins appear to target both lipid A and phospholipids. Furthermore, the mechanism of octapeptins does not appear to be highly dependent on an initial complementary electrostatic interaction with lipid A, which accounts for their ability to bind to lipid A of polymyxin-resistant Gram-negative bacteria that is modified with cationic moieties that act to electrostatically repel the cationic polymyxin molecule. The presented findings shed new light on the mechanism whereby octapeptins penetrate the outer membrane of polymyxin-resistant Gram-negative pathogens and highlight their potential as candidates for development as new antibiotics against problematic multi-drug-resistant pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-619
Number of pages14
JournalACS Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2017


  • mode of action
  • multidrug resistance
  • octapeptin
  • polymyxin

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