Mar 25, 2020

Insights into the Polyhexamethylene Biguanide (PHMB) Mechanism of Action on Bacterial Membrane and DNA: A Molecular Dynamics Study

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
S. Sowlati-HashjinMikko Karttunen


Polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB) is a cationic polymer with antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It has been commonly accepted that the antimicrobial activity is due the ability of PHMB to perforate the bacterial phospholipid membrane leading ultimately to its death. In this study we show by the means of atomistic molecular dynamics (MD) simulations that while the PHMB molecules attach to the surface of the phospholipid bilayer and partially penetrate it, they do not cause any pore formation at least within the microsecond simulation times. The polymers initially adsorb onto the membrane surface via the favourable electrostatic interactions between the phospholipid headgroups and the biguanide groups, and then partially penetrate the membrane slightly disrupting its structure. This, however, does not lead to the formation of any pores. The microsecond-scale simulations reveal that it is unlikely for PHMB to spontaneously pass through the phospholipid membrane. Our findings suggest that PHMB translocation across the bilayer may take place through binding to the phospholipids. Once inside the cell, the polymer can effectively 'bind' to DNA through extensive interactions with DNA phosphate backbone, which can potentially bloc...Continue Reading

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Spatial Distribution
Research Personnel
Drosophila simulans
Drosophila pseudoobscura
Drosophila hamatofila

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