Uptake pathways of anionic and cationic photosensitizers into bacteria

Saji George, Michael R. Hamblin, Anil Kishen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of divalent cations (calcium and magnesium) and a permeabilizing agent (EDTA) on the uptake of a cationic photosensitizer (PS), methylene blue (MB), and two anionic PSs, rose bengal (RB) and indocyanine green (ICG), by Gram-positive Enterococcus faecalis and Gram-negative Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans was examined. The possible roles of multidrug efflux pumps and protein transporters in photosensitizer uptake were assessed in E. faecalis cells by studies using an efflux pump inhibitor (verapamil) and trypsin treatment respectively. Divalent cations enhanced the uptake and photodynamic inactivation potential of both RB and ICG in E. faecalis and A. actinomycetemcomitans, while they decreased the uptake and bacterial killing by MB. Verapamil increased the uptake of RB (possibly due to efflux pump inhibition), whereas trypsin treatment resulted in significant decrease in RB and ICG uptake. The results suggested that the uptake of anionic PSs by bacterial cells may be mediated through a combination of electrostatic charge interaction and by protein transporters, while the uptake of cationic PSs, as previously reported, is mediated by electrostatic interactions and self promoted uptake pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-795
Number of pages8
JournalPhotochemical and Photobiological Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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