Use of cilofungin as direct fluorescent probe for monitoring antifungal drug-membrane interactions

Y. T. Ko, R. D. Ludescher, D. J. Frost, B. P. Wasserman

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9 Scopus citations


Cilofungin is an antifungal cyclopeptide which inhibits cell wall (1,3)- β-glucan biosynthesis in fungal organisms, and its action against Candida albicans (1,3)-β-glucan synthase has been widely studied. Since glucan synthase inactivation is thought to partially result from perturbations of the membrane lipid environment, the interaction of cilofungin with fungal membranes and phosphatidylcholine membrane vesicles was studied. Cilofungin, which contains two independent aromatic groups, has an excitation maximum of 270 nm and an emission maximum of 317 nm in aqueous solution. Comparison of the fluorescence properties of cilofungin with those of the analogs pneumocandin B0, N-acetyl-tyrosinamide, and 4-hydroxybenzamide indicated that the emission of cilofungin largely derived from the p-octyloxybenzamide side chain. Microsomal membranes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, C. albicans, and phosphatidylcholine membrane vesicles induced a blue shift in the cilofungin emission spectrum and increased the cilofungin steady-state emission anisotropy, providing direct evidence for a cilofungin-membrane interaction. Cilofungin interacted more strongly with membranes of C. albicans than with those of S. cerevisiae, correlating with previous findings that C. albicans is far more susceptible than S. cerevisiae to the action of cilofungin. These findings support the hypothesis that drug-induced inhibition of the (1,3)-β-glucan synthesis results from the perturbation of the membrane environment and the interaction with the glucan synthase complex combined. The study demonstrated ways in which the fluorescence properties of drugs can be used to directly evaluate drug-membrane interactions and structure-activity relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1378-1385
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1994

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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