Cationic Antiseptics Facilitate Pore Formation in Model Bacterial Membranes
Antiseptics are an essential line of defense against bacterial and viral infections in modern medical practice. Many of them are supposed to act on microbial membranes. However, the detailed mechanisms of their action are still elusive. Here, we utilized coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations to investigate interactions of different types of cationic antiseptics (CAs) with a model bacterial membrane. The simulations revealed qualitatively distinct patterns of dynamic and structural alterations of membrane induced by different types of antiseptics although none of them caused disintegration or solubilization of the bilayer even at the highest explored concentration. At the same time, the adsorption of antiseptics rendered membranes more vulnerable to poration under exposure to the external electric field. We further discuss the possible relation of the enhanced pore formation induced by CAs to their cytotoxic action.