Kinetics of Antimicrobial Drug Ion Transfer at a Water/Oil Interface Studied by Nanopipet Voltammetry

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Effective delivery and accumulation of antimicrobial agents into the microbial organism is essential for the treatment of bacterial infections. Transports of hydrophilic drug molecules, however, encounter a robust barrier of hydrophobic double membrane cell envelope, thus, leading to drug-resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. Accordingly, a deeper understanding about a transit of charged molecules through a bacterial membrane is needed to remediate the antibacterial resistance. Herein, we apply a steady-state voltammetry using nanopipet-supported interfaces between two immiscible electrolyte solutions (ITIES) to quantitatively study transport-kinetics of antimicrobial drug ions (quinolones and sulfonamides) at a water/oil interface. Importantly, ITIES can mimic a cellular membrane system, thus, being employed as insightful surrogates for the kinetic study of drug entry through bacterial cytoplasmic membranes. This approach enables us to voltammetrically and amperometrically detect redox-inactive drug ions as pristine under physiological conditions. Considerably slow kinetics of drug-ion transports are successfully measured by nanopipet voltammetry and theoretically analyzed. This analysis reveals that the drug-ion transport is 3 orders of magnitude slower than tetrabutylammonium ion transport. In addition, the extreme hydrophilicity of drug ions in comparison to ClO 4- is quantitatively assessed from half-wave potentials of obtained voltammograms. The high hydrophilicity exclusively attributed to localized negative charges on carboxylate or amide group of deprotonated quinolone or sulfonamide, respectively, may play a dominant role in sluggish kinetics due to the increase in energy barriers upon interfacial ion transfer. Notably, this study using nanopipet voltammetry provides physicochemical insights on the correlation between structural properties of pristine drug ions and their transfer kinetics at a water/oil interface in lieu of biological membranes.

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Analytical Chemistry