Elucidation of the antimicrobial mechanism of mutacin 1140

Academic Article


  • Mutacin 1140 and nisin A are peptide antibiotics that belong to the lantibiotic family. N-Terminal rings A and B of nisin A and mutacin 1140 (lipid II-binding domain) share many structural and sequence similarities. Nisin A binds lipid II and thus disrupts cell wall synthesis and also forms transmembrane pores. Very little is known about mutacin 1140 in this regard. We performed fluorescence-based studies using a bacteria-mimetic membrane system. The results indicated that lipid II monomers are arranged differently in the mutacin 1140 complex than in the nisin A complex. These differences in complex formation may be attributed to the fact that nisin A uses lipid II to form a distinct pore complex, while mutacin 1140 does not form pores in this membrane system. Further experiments demonstrated that the mutacin 1140-lipid II and nisin A-lipid II complexes are very stable and capable of withstanding competition from each other. Transmembrane electrical potential experiments using a Streptococcus rattus strain, which is sensitive to mutacin 1140, demonstrated that mutacin 1140 does not form pores in this strain even at a concentration 8 times higher than the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). Circular complexes of mutacin 1140 and nisin A were observed by electron microscopy, providing direct evidence for a lateral assembly mechanism for these antibiotics. Mutacin 1140 did exhibit a membrane disruptive function in another commonly used artificial bacterial membrane system, and its disruptive activity was enhanced by increasing amounts of anionic phospholipids. © 2008 American Chemical Society.
  • Published In

  • Biochemistry  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Smith L; Hasper H; Breukink E; Novak J; Čerkasov J; Hillman JD; Wilson-Stanford S; Orugunty RS
  • Start Page

  • 3308
  • End Page

  • 3314
  • Volume

  • 47
  • Issue

  • 10