This work focuses on the influence of rifabutin and two novel analogs, namely, N′-acetyl-rifabutin and N′-butanoyl-rifabutin, on the biophysical properties of lipid membranes. Monolayers and multilamellar vesicles composed of egg L-α-phosphatidylcholine:cholesterol in a molar ratio of 4:1 are chosen to mimic biological membranes. Several accurate biophysical techniques are used to establish a putative relationship between the chemical structure of the antimycobacterial compounds and their activity on the membranes. A combination of in situ experimental techniques, such as Langmuir isotherms, Brewster angle microscopy, polarization-modulated infrared reflection–absorption spectroscopy, and small-angle X-ray scattering, is used to assess the drug–membrane interaction. A relationship between the effect of a drug on the organization of the membranes and their chemical structure is found and may be useful in the development of new drugs with higher efficacy and fewer toxic effects.
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