Brevinin-2-related peptide (BR-II), a novel antimicrobial peptide isolated from the skin of frog, Rana septentrionalis, shows a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity with low haemolytic activity. It has also been shown to have antiviral activity, specifically to protect cells from infection by HIV-1. To understand the active conformation of the BR-II peptide in membranes, we have investigated the interaction of BR-II with the prokaryotic and eukaryotic membrane-mimetic micelles such as sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) and dodecylphosphocholine (DPC), respectively. The interactions were studied using fluorescence and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. Fluorescence experiments revealed that the N-terminus tryptophan residue of BR-II interacts with the hydrophobic core of the membrane mimicking micelles. The CD results suggest that interactions with membrane-mimetic micelles induce an α-helix conformation in BR-II. We have also determined the solution structures of BR-II in DPC and SDS micelles using NMR spectroscopy. The structural comparison of BR-II in the presence of SDS and DPC micelles showed significant conformational changes in the residues connecting the N-terminus and C-terminus helices. The ability of BR-II to bind DNA was elucidated by agarose gel retardation and fluorescence experiments. The structural differences of BR-II in zwitterionic versus anionic membrane mimics and the DNA binding ability of BR-II collectively contribute to the general understanding of the pharmacological specificity of this peptide towards prokaryotic and eukaryotic membranes and provide insights into its overall antimicrobial mechanism. Copyright © 2014 European Peptide Society and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.