Attenuation of neuroblastoma cell growth by nisin is mediated by modulation of phase behavior and enhanced cell membrane fluidity†
Antimicrobial peptides have been attracting significant attention as potential anti-cancer therapeutic agents in recent times. Yet most antimicrobial peptides seem to possess cytotoxic effects on non-cancerous cells. Nisin, an antimicrobial peptide and FDA approved food preservative, has recently been found to induce selective apoptotic cell death and reduced cell proliferation in different cancer cell lines. However, the mechanism of nisin interaction with cancer cell membranes remains unexplored. Using potentiometric dye-based fluorescence and monolayer surface pressure–area isotherms we find that nisin interaction enhances the fluidity and reduces the dipole potential of a neuroblastoma cell membrane model. The quantified compressibility modulus suggests that the changes in fluidity are predominantly driven by the nisin interaction with the non-raft like regions. However, the measured positive Gibbs free energy of mixing and enthalpy hints that nisin, owing to its unfavorable mixing with cholesterol, might significantly disrupt the raft-like domains.