Mechanism of chlorpromazine binding by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria

J. Molnár, J. Fischer, M. J. Nakamura

Research output: Article

8 Citations (Scopus)


Chlorpromazine forms charge-transfer complexes with xanthene dyes in bacteria. These complexes permit the differentiation of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in both light and polarization microscopy. The birefringence induced by the charge-transfer complex might explain the molecular basis of bacterial staining. The charge-transfer complexes formed between chorpromazine and xanthene dyes accumulate in the bacterial cell, mainly inside the bacterial cell wall. The complexes give the cells a color, which depends on the chemical composition of the staining structure, and in particular the polysaccharides of the cell wall in bacteria. Metachromatic granules were seen inside Gram-positive bacteria after chlorpromazine and rose bengal staining. Although the nature of these granules remains unclear, this type of binding may have a role in the inhibition of biochemical processes in the bacterial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-314
Number of pages6
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - nov. 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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