SUMMARY: The biochemical basis for the antimicrobial effect of the carrot phytoalexin 6-methoxymellein (6-MM) was examined. At fungistatic concentrations 6-MM retarded the ability of to incorporate radioactive thymidine, uridine and leucine into biopolymers. When was incubated with 6-MM, 260-nm-absorbing materials and H-labelled compounds leaked from the cells. The inhibitory effects of 6-MM on cell growth and membrane functions were, however, reduced as the concentration of divalent metal cations added to the medium was increased. 6-MM interacted with multilamellar liposomes constituted from phosphatidylcholine, cholesterol and dicetyl phosphate, or from phosphatidylcholine only, resulting in the release of glucose trapped in these liposomes. These results suggest that 6-MM exerts its toxic effects on susceptible cells as a result of its interaction with their membranes and disturbance of membrane-associated functions.


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