Journal Article

Propyl paraben induces potassium efflux in <i>Escherichia coli</i>

Jérôme Bredin, Anne Davin-Régli and Jean-Marie Pagès

in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Published on behalf of British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy

Volume 55, issue 6, pages 1013-1015
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 0305-7453
Published online April 2005 | e-ISSN: 1460-2091 | DOI:
Propyl paraben induces potassium efflux in Escherichia coli

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Objectives: Parabens are currently used as antibacterial preservatives in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food products but there are no precise data concerning their activity on bacterial membranes.

Methods: We analysed the cytoplasmic potassium release during propyl paraben addition by using a selective electrode. Various conditions were assayed to investigate the bacterial paraben susceptibility. We compared the activity of propyl paraben with the activities of colicin A and polymyxin B.

Results: Propyl paraben induced potassium efflux that was related to the porin expression in the bacterial outer membrane. In addition, the presence of spermine, previously described as an efficient OmpF channel-blocker, protected susceptible cells against paraben activity.

Conclusions: Propyl paraben induced potassium release in susceptible Escherichia coli cells similar to that observed with polymyxin B. Moreover, this efflux depended on porin channel activity. This permeabilizing effect is probably related to antibacterial properties of paraben molecules.

Keywords: outer membrane proteins; membrane channels; porins; pore forming molecules

Journal Article.  1905 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Oncology ; Critical Care

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