The Journal of biological chemistry

Dodecylglycerol. A new type of antibacterial agent which stimulates autolysin activity in Streptococcus faecium ATCC 9790.

PMID 6145712


Dodecylglycerol has a minimum inhibitory concentration of 4 micrograms/ml compared to 9 micrograms/ml for monolaurin (dodecanoylglycerol) with Streptococcus faecium ATCC 9790 as the test organism. The greater potency of dodecylglycerol can be correlated to its greater retention by the cell. Gram-positive bacteria were more susceptible than Gram-negative bacteria to dodecylglycerol. The antibacterial action of dodecylglycerol is not through the physical dissolution of cell walls, but rather as an enzymatic effector. The autolysin activity of whole cells of S. faecium was greatly stimulated by dodecylglycerol. The stimulation of autolytic activity and inhibition of growth respond in parallel to different concentrations of dodecylglycerol, to dodecylglycerol versus some poorer effector such as monolaurin or a glycerol alkyl ether with a longer or shorter fatty alkyl side chain than dodecanol, and to the antagonistic effects of diphosphatidlyglycerol. This close relationship implies that the stimulation of autolysin activity could be a primary, but not necessarily the only, mechanism by which dodecylglycerol and related compounds exert their antibacterial activity. However, the autolysin activity is not stimulated by a direct interaction between the enzyme and dodecylglycerol. A non-wall entity, such as a proteinase, has been implicated as an intermediary (Ved, H. S., Gustow, E., and Pieringer, R. A. (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 8122-8124).