Interaction of daptomycin with lipid bilayers: a lipid extracting effect.

PMID 25093761


Daptomycin is the first approved member of a new structural class of antibiotics, the cyclic lipopeptides. The peptide interacts with the lipid matrix of cell membranes, inducing permeability of the membrane to ions, but its molecular mechanism has been a puzzle. Unlike the ubiquitous membrane-acting host-defense antimicrobial peptides, daptomycin does not induce pores in the cell membranes. Thus, how it affects the permeability of a membrane to ions is not clear. We studied its interaction with giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) and discovered a lipid-extracting phenomenon that correlates with the direct action of daptomycin on bacterial membranes observed in a recent fluorescence microscopy study. Lipid extraction occurred only when the GUV lipid composition included phosphatidylglycerol and in the presence of Ca(2+) ions, the same condition found to be necessary for daptomycin to be effective against bacteria. Furthermore, it occurred only when the peptide/lipid ratio exceeded a threshold value, which could be the basis of the minimal inhibitory concentration of daptomycin. In this first publication on the lipid extracting effect, we characterize its dependence on ions and lipid compositions. We also discuss possibilities for connecting the lipid extracting effect to the antibacterial activity of daptomycin.