Polymyxin E Induces Rapid Paenibacillus polymyxa Death by Damaging Cell Membrane while Ca2+ Can Protect Cells from Damage

Qin, Wangrong; Yu, Zhiliang; Cai, Yuanning; Lin, Jianxun; Qiu, Juanping

Polymyxin E, produced by Paenibacillus polymyxa, is an important antibiotic normally against Gram-negative pathogens. In this study, we found that polymyxin E can kill its producer P. polymyxa, a Gram-positive bacterium, by disrupting its cell membrane. Membrane damage was clearly revealed by detecting the leakage of intracellular molecules. The observation using scanning electron microscopy also supported that polymyxin E can destroy the cell membrane and cause an extensive cell surface alteration. On the other hand, divalent cations can give protection against polymyxin E. Compared with Mg2+, Ca2+ can more effectively alleviate polymyxin E-induced damage to the cell membrane, thus remarkably increasing the P. polymyxa survival. Our findings would shed light on a not yet described bactericidal mechanism of polymyxin E against Gram-positive bacteria and more importantly the nature of limited fermentation output of polymyxin E from P. polymyxa.


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Electrical Engineering
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December 14, 2015