We implemented molecular dynamics simulations of the 13-residue antimicrobial peptide indolicidin (ILPWKWPWWPWRR-NH2) in dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) micelles. In DPC, a persistent cation-π interaction between TRP11 and ARG13 defined the structure of the peptide near the interface. A transient cation-π interaction was also observed between TRP4 and the choline group on DPC lipids. We also implemented simulation of a mutant of indolicidin in the DPC micelle where TRP11 was replaced by ALA11. As a result of the mutation, the boat-shaped conformation is lost and the structure becomes significantly less defined. On the basis of this evidence, we argue that cation - π interactions determine the experimentally measured, well-defined boat-shaped structure of indolicidin. In SDS, the lack of such interactions and the electrostatic binding of the terminal arginine residues to the sulfate groups leads to an extended peptide structure. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that a cation - π interaction between peptide side chains has been shown to stabilize the structure of a small antimicrobial peptide. The simulations are in excellent agreement with available experimental measurements: the backbone of the peptide is more ordered in DPC than in SDS; the tryptophan side chains pack against the backbone in DPC and point away from the backbone in SDS; the rms fluctuation of the peptide backbone and peptide side chains is greater in SDS than in DPC; and the peptide backbone order parameters are higher in DPC than in SDS.