Microscopic visualization of alamethicin incorporation into model membrane monolayers Academic Article uri icon


  • Lipid interactions and cooperative assembly properties are fundamental determinants for the action of antimicrobial membrane-active peptides. Here we analyze the interactions and aggregation properties of alamethicin, an antimicrobial pore-forming peptide, with films formed at the air/water interface. Surface-area/pressure isotherms, Brewster angle microscopy, and fluorescence-confocal microscopy provided detailed information on the morphologies and structural properties of the peptide and its effect on the film components. The pressure−area analysis and microscopy experiments facilitated unprecedented visualization of the structural consequences of alamethicin association at the air/water interface, with pure phospholipid films, and within mixed phospholipid/polydiacetylene (PDA) films. The analysis exposed the kinetic features and the interplay between the peptide aggregates and film constituents. In particular, the results demonstrate the use of phospholipid/PDA film assemblies for studying membrane−peptide association and interactions within two-dimensional films.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004