The effects of azole and polyene antifungals on the plasma membrane enzymes of Candida albicans

J Med Vet Mycol. 1987 Dec;25(6):403-13. doi: 10.1080/02681218780000491.


The two clinically important classes of antimycotic drugs, the polyenes and azoles, act on the plasma membrane of the cell. The primary modes of action are believed to be through interaction with sterols (polyenes) and alteration in sterol composition of the membrane (azoles). In this report we show that, at growth inhibitory concentrations, the polyenes (nystatin and amphotericin) and azoles (miconazole and ketoconazole) also inhibit plasma membrane enzymes. There was extensive (greater than 75%) inhibition of the Candida albicans plasma membrane enzymes ATPase, glucan synthase, adenyl cyclase and 5'-nucleotidase, when assayed in situ. The antifungals papulacandin and echinocandin, which inhibit glucan synthesis, also inhibited plasma membrane enzymes in situ; glucan synthase (greater than 90%), 5'-nucleotidase (greater than 80%) and ATPase (70-80%). Purified plasma membrane was prepared from yeast cells of C. albicans by two different techniques: concanavalin A stabilization and coating of spheroplasts with silica microbeads. In the purified plasma membrane vesicles prepared from concanavalin A the adenyl cyclase and phosphodiesterase were extensively (greater than 90%) inhibited by the three different classes of antifungal drugs; variable inhibition was observed with ATPase (70-100%). The 3',5'-cyclic phosphodiesterase of the plasma membrane purified by the microbeads method was almost completely inhibited by all of the antifungals tested and there was partial inhibition of ATPase (20-85%) and adenyl cyclase (30-90%).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • 5'-Nucleotidase
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Azoles / pharmacology
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / enzymology
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / ultrastructure
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology
  • Glucosyltransferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nucleotidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Polyenes / pharmacology


  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Azoles
  • Polyenes
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • glucan synthase
  • Nucleotidases
  • 5'-Nucleotidase
  • 3',5'-Cyclic-AMP Phosphodiesterases
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases