Chlorpromazine forms charge-transfer complexes with xanthene dyes in bacteria. These complexes permit the differentiation of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in both light and polarization microscopy. The birefringence induced by the charge-transfer complex might explain the molecular basis of bacterial staining.
The charge-transfer complexes formed between chorpromazine and xanthene dyes accumulate in the bacterial cell, mainly inside the bacterial cell wall. The complexes give the cells a color, which depends on the chemical composition of the staining structure, and in particular the polysaccharides of the cell wall in bacteria.
Metachromatic granules were seen inside Gram-positive bacteria after chlorpromazine and rose bengal staining. Although the nature of these granules remains unclear, this type of binding may have a role in the inhibition of biochemical processes in the bacterial cells.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Alföldi L, Raskó I & Kerekes E (1968) L-serine deaminase inE. coli. J. Bact. 96: 1512–1518
Barabás K & Molnár J (1980) Lack of correlation between intercalation and plasmid curing ability of some tricyclic compounds. Acta Microbiol. Acad. Sci. Hung. 27: 55–61
Brau A, Farges JP & Gutmann F (1972) Electrochemical studies of phenothiazine-iodine charge transfer complexes. Electrochimica Acta 17: 1803–1811
Eckert GM, Gutmann F & Keyzer H (1985) Electrochemical interactions between some beta-lactam antibiotics and aminoglycoside antibiotics. J. Biol. Phys. 13: 43–49
Fischer J (1976) Demonstration of microorganisms in tissues by the ABT and KOH topo-optical reactions. Acta Morphologica Acad. Sci. Hung 24: 203–214
Fischer J (1977) Optical polarization reveals different ultrastructural molecular arrangement of polysaccharides in the yeast cell walls. Acta Biol. Acad. Sci. Hung. 28: 49–58
Fischer J & Emödy L (1976) Molecular order of carbohydrate components in cell walls of bacteria, fungi and algae according to the topooptical reaction of the vicinal OH groups. Acta Microbiol. Acad. Sci. Hung. 23: 97–108
Gutmann F & Keyzer H: (1967) Study of phenothiazine and chlorpromazine Iodine complex. J. Chemical Physics 46: 1969–1974
Gutmann F, Lynne C, Smith I & Slifkin MA (1974) Charge transfer interactions of chlorpromazine with neural transmitters. In: Forrest IS, Carr CJ & Usdin E (Eds) The Phenothiazines and Structurally Related Drugs (pp 15–31). Raven Press, New York
Lábos E (1966) Evidence of complex formation between chlorpromazine and different xanthene dyes. Nature 209: 201–202
Molnár J, Király J & Mándy Y (1975) The antibacterial action and R-factor inhibition activity by chlorpromazine. Experientia 31: 444–445
Molnár J, Földeák S, Nakamura MJ, Gaizer F & Gutmann F (1991) The influence of charge transfer complex formation on antibacterical activity of some tricyclic psychopharmacons. Xenobiotica 21: 309–316
Molnár J (1988) Antiplasmid activity of tricyclic compounds. Meth. and Find. Exptl. Clin. Pharmacol. 10: 467–474
Romhányi GY (1975) A biológiai membránok ultrastrukturájáról optikai analizisek tükrében. MTA Biol. Oszt. Közl. 18: 1–19 (in Hungarian)
Scherrer R (1984) Gram's staining reaction, Gram types and cell walls of bacteria. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 16: 242–245
Szent-Györgyi A (1960) Introduction to a Submolecular Biology. Academic Press, New York and London.
About this article
Cite this article
Molnár, J., Fischer, J. & Nakamura, M.J. Mechanism of chlorpromazine binding by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 62, 309–314 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00572599
- xanthene dyes
- charge-transfer complexes
- Gram-positive and Gram-negative cell wall stain