, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 108-112
Date: 01 Feb 2012

Second Harmonic Generation to Monitor the Interactions of the Antimicrobial Mycosubtilin with Membrane-Mimicking Interfacial Monolayers


Mycosubtilin is a strong antimicrobial agent belonging to the iturinic lipopeptide family which contains a single tyrosine residue. Its cell target has been shown to be the cytoplasmic membrane. This tyrosine residue has been previously shown to be essential for the biological activity of mycosubtilin. Since we have previously demonstrated that tyrosine, an aromatic amino acid, can be used as an endogenous probe for the frequency doubling process, the presence of a tyrosine residue in mycosubtilin allowed us to investigate the interactions of mycosubtilin with biomimetic lipid monolayers at the air–water interface by second harmonic generation (SHG). Mycosubtilin was added underneath dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine or cholesterol monolayers at the air–water interface and significant increases in the surface pressure were observed in both cases. This observation demonstrates that mycosubtilin interacts with these biomimetic membranes. A light polarization resolved analysis of the SHG signals recovered for these two systems was then performed and confirmed that those interactions between the tyrosine residue in mycosubtilin and the membranes could be monitored by SHG. Furthermore, the differences exhibited by the nonlinear optical measurements for different membranes showed that these interactions depend on the nature of the biomimetic membrane present at the air–water interface.