Multidrug resistance (MDR) in Enterobacter aerogenes can be mediated by induction of MarA, which is triggered by certain antibiotics and phenolic compounds. In this study, we identified the gene encoding RamA, a 113-amino-acid regulatory protein belonging to the AraC-XylS transcriptional activator family, in the Enterobacter aerogenes ATCC 13048 type strain and in a clinical multiresistant isolate. Overexpression of RamA induced an MDR phenotype in drug-susceptible Escherichia coli JM109 and E. aerogenes ATCC 13048, as demonstrated by 2- to 16-fold-increased resistance to β-lactams, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, and quinolones, a decrease in porin production, and increased production of AcrA, a component of the AcrAB-TolC drug efflux pump. We show that RamA enhances the transcription of the marRAB operon but is also able to induce an MDR phenotype in a mar-deleted strain. We demonstrate here that RamA is a transcriptional activator of the Mar regulon and is also a self-governing activator of the MDR cascade.
A spontaneous mutant (M113) of Escherichia coli AG100 with an unstable multiple antibiotic resistance (Mar) phenotype was isolated in the presence of tetracycline. Two mutations were found: an insertion in the promoter of lon (lon3::IS186) that occurred first and a subsequent large tandem duplication, dupIS186, bearing the genes acrAB and extending from the lon3::IS186 to another IS186 present 149 kb away from lon. The decreased amount of Lon protease increased the amount of MarA by stabilization of the basal quantities of MarA produced, which in turn increased the amount of multidrug effux pump AcrAB-TolC. However, in a mutant carrying only a lon mutation, the overproduced pump mediated little, if any, increased multidrug resistance, indicating that the Lon protease was required for the function of the pump. This requirement was only partial since resistance was mediated when amounts of AcrAB in a lon mutant were further increased by a second mutation. In M113, amplification of acrAB on the duplication led to increased amounts of AcrAB and multidrug resistance. Spontaneous gene duplication represents a new mechanism for mediating multidrug resistance in E. coli through AcrAB-TolC.
MarA47Yp from Yersinia pestis, showing 47% identity to Escherichia coli MarA in its N terminus, caused resistance to antibiotics and to organic solvents when expressed in both E. coli and Y. pestis. Resistance was linked to increased expression of the AcrAB multidrug efflux pump. In four of five spontaneous multidrug-resistant mutants of Y. pestis independently selected by growth on tetracycline, the marA47Yp gene was overexpressed. The findings suggest that marA47Yp is a marA ortholog in Y. pestis.
Mutants of Escherichia coli selected for resistance to the disinfectant pine oil or to a household product containing pine oil also showed resistance to multiple antibiotics (tetracycline, ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and nalidixic acid) and overexpressed the marA gene. Likewise, antibiotic-selected Mar mutants, which also overexpress marA, were resistant to pine oil. Deletion of the mar or acrAB locus, the latter encoding a multidrug efflux pump positively regulated in part by MarA, increased the susceptibility of wild-type and mutant strains to pine oil.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium has at least nine
multidrug efflux pumps. Among these pumps, AcrAB is effective in generating
drug resistance and has wide substrate specificity. Here we report that
indole, bile, and an Escherichia coli conditioned medium induced the
AcrAB pump in Salmonella through a specific regulator, RamA. The
RamA-binding sites were located in the upstream regions of acrAB and
tolC. RamA was required for indole induction of acrAB. Other
regulators of acrAB such as MarA, SoxS, Rob, SdiA, and AcrR did not
contribute to acrAB induction by indole in Salmonella.
Indole activated ramA transcription, and overproduction of RamA
caused increased acrAB expression. In contrast, induction of
ramA was not required for induction of acrAB by bile. Cholic
acid binds to RamA, and we suggest that bile acts by altering pre-existing
RamA. This points to two different AcrAB regulatory modes through RamA. Our
results suggest that RamA controls the Salmonella AcrAB-TolC
multidrug efflux system through dual regulatory modes in response to
MarA, an AraC/XylS transcriptional regulator in Escherichia coli, affects drug susceptibility and virulence. Two MarA-like proteins have been found in Yersinia pestis: MarA47 and MarA48. Deletion or overexpression of these proteins in the attenuated KIM 1001 Δpgm strain led to a change in multidrug susceptibility (including susceptibility to clinically relevant drugs). Additionally, lung colonization by the marA47 or marA48 deletion mutant was decreased about 10-fold in a pneumonic plague mouse model. Complementation of the deletions by replacing the deleted genes on the chromosome restored wild-type characteristics. These findings show that two MarA homologs in Y. pestis affect antibiotic susceptibility and virulence.
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344, in which efflux pump genes (acrB, acrD, acrF, tolC) or regulatory genes thereof (marA, soxS, ramA) were inactivated, was grown in the presence of 240 antimicrobial and nonantimicrobial agents in the Biolog Phenotype MicroArray. Mutants lacking tolC, acrB, and ramA grew significantly worse than other mutants in the presence of 48 agents (some of which have not previously been identified as substrates of AcrAB-TolC) and particularly poorly in the presence of phenothiazines, which are human antipsychotics. MIC testing revealed that the phenothiazine chlorpromazine had antimicrobial activity and synergized with common antibiotics against different Salmonella serovars and SL1344. Chlorpromazine increased the intracellular accumulation of ethidium bromide, which was ablated in mutants lacking acrB, suggesting an interaction with AcrB. High-level but not low-level overexpression of ramA increased the expression of acrB; conferred resistance to chloramphenicol, tetracycline, nalidixic acid, and triclosan and organic solvent tolerance; and increased the amount of ethidium bromide accumulated. Chlorpromazine induced the modest overproduction of ramA but repressed acrB. These data suggest that phenothiazines are not efflux pump inhibitors but influence gene expression, including that of acrB, which confers the synergy with antimicrobials observed.
The genetic basis for fluoroquinolone resistance was examined in 30 high-level fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli clinical isolates from Beijing, China. Each strain also demonstrated resistance to a variety of other antibiotics. PCR sequence analysis of the quinolone resistance-determining region of the topoisomerase genes (gyrA/B, parC) revealed three to five mutations known to be associated with fluoroquinolone resistance. Western blot analysis failed to demonstrate overexpression of MarA, and Northern blot analysis did not detect overexpression of soxS RNA in any of the clinical strains. The AcrA protein of the AcrAB multidrug efflux pump was overexpressed in 19 of 30 strains of E. coli tested, and all 19 strains were tolerant to organic solvents. PCR amplification of the complete acrR (regulator/repressor) gene of eight isolates revealed amino acid changes in four isolates, a 9-bp deletion in another, and a 22-bp duplication in a sixth strain. Complementation with a plasmid-borne wild-type acrR gene reduced the level of AcrA in the mutants and partially restored antibiotic susceptibility 1.5- to 6-fold. This study shows that mutations in acrR are an additional genetic basis for fluoroquinolone resistance.
Multidrug efflux pumps adversely affect both the clinical effectiveness of existing antibiotics and the discovery process to find new ones. In this study, we reconstituted and characterized by surface plasmon resonance the assembly of AcrAB-TolC, the archetypal multidrug efflux pump from Escherichia coli. We report that the periplasmic AcrA and the outer membrane channel TolC assemble high-affinity complexes with AcrB transporter independently from each other. Antibiotic novobiocin and MC-207,110 inhibitor bind to the immobilized AcrB but do not affect interactions between components of the complex. In contrast, DARPin inhibits interactions between AcrA and AcrB. Mutational opening of TolC channel decreases stability of interactions and promotes disassembly of the complex. The conformation of the membrane proximal domain of AcrA is critical for the formation of AcrAB-TolC and could be targeted for the development of new inhibitors.
AcrAB-TolC is the major multidrug efflux system in Enterobacteriaceae recognizing structurally unrelated molecules including antibiotics, dyes, and detergents. Additionally, in Escherichia coli it mediates resistance to bile salts. In the plant pathogen Erwinia amylovora AcrAB-TolC is required for virulence and phytoalexin resistance. Exchange analysis of AcrAB-TolC was conducted by complementing mutants of both species defective in acrB or tolC with alleles from either species. The acrB and tolC mutants exhibited increased susceptibility profiles for 24 different antibiotics. All mutants were complemented with acrAB or tolC, respectively, regardless of the taxonomic origin of the alleles. Importantly, complementation of E. amylovora mutants with respective E. coli genes restored virulence on apple plants. It was concluded that AcrAB and TolC of both species could interact and that these interactions did not yield in altered functions despite the divergent ecological niches, to which E. coli and E. amylovora have adopted.
Erwinia amylovora; Escherichia coli; TolC; AcrAB; multidrug efflux
The marRAB operon is a regulatory locus that controls multiple drug resistance in Escherichia coli. marA encodes a positive regulator of the antibiotic resistance response, acting by altering the expression of unlinked genes. marR encodes a repressor of marRAB transcription and controls the production of MarA in response to environmental signals. A molecular and genetic study of the homologous operon in Salmonella typhimurium was undertaken, and the role of marA in virulence in a murine model was assessed. Expression of E. coli marA (marAEC) present on a multicopy plasmid in S. typhimurium resulted in a multiple antibiotic resistance (Mar) phenotype, suggesting that a similar regulon exists in this organism. A genomic plasmid library containing S. typhimurium chromosomal sequences was introduced into an E. coli strain that was deleted for the mar locus and contained a single-copy marR'-'lacZ translational fusion. Plasmid clones that contained both S. typhimurium marR (marRSt) and marA (marASt) genes were identified as those that were capable of repressing expression of the fusion and which resulted in a Mar phenotype. The predicted amino acid sequences of MarRSt, MarASt, and MarBSt were 91, 86, and 42% identical, respectively, to the same genes from E. coli, while the operator/promoter region of the operon was 86% identical to the same 98-nucleotide-upstream region in E. coli. The marRAB transcriptional start sites for both organisms were determined by primer extension, and a marRABSt transcript of approximately 1.1 kb was identified by Northern blot analysis. Its accumulation was shown to be inducible by sodium salicylate. Open reading frames flanking the marRAB operon were also conserved. An S. typhimurium marA disruption strain was constructed by an allelic exchange method and compared to the wild-type strain for virulence in a murine BALB/c infection model. No effect on virulence was noted. The endogenous S. typhimurium plasmid that is associated with virulence played no role in marA-mediated multiple antibiotic resistance. Taken together, the data show that the S. typhimurium mar locus is structurally and functionally similar to marRABEc and that a lesion in marASt has no effect on S. typhimurium virulence for BALB/c mice.
It has been proposed that lack of a functional efflux system(s) will lead to a lower frequency of selection of resistance to fluoroquinolones and other antibiotics. We constructed five strains of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344 that lacked efflux gene components of resistance nodulation cell division pumps (acrB, acrD, acrF, acrBacrF, and tolC) plus three strains that lack genes that effect efflux gene expression (marA, soxS, and ramA) and a hypermutable strain (mutS::aph). Strains were exposed to ciprofloxacin at 2× the MIC in agar, in the presence and absence of Phe-Arg-β-naphthylamide, an efflux pump inhibitor. Mutants were selected from all strains except those lacking acrB, tolC, or acrBacrF. For strains from which mutants were selected, there were no significant differences between the frequencies of resistance. Except for mutants of the ramA::aph strain, two phenotypes arose: resistance to quinolones only and multiple antibiotic resistance (MAR). ramA::aph mutants were resistant to quinolones only, suggesting a role for ramA in MAR in S. enterica serovar Typhimurium. Phe-Arg-β-naphthylamide (20 μg/ml) had no effect on the frequencies of resistance or ciprofloxacin MICs. In conclusion, functional AcrB and TolC in S. enterica serovar Typhimurium are important for the selection of ciprofloxacin-resistant mutants.
In a single quantitative study, we measured acrA, acrB, tolC, mdfA, and norE expression in Escherichia coli clinical isolates by using real-time PCR. acrA and acrB overexpression strongly correlated with fluoroquinolone and multidrug resistance; tolC, mdfA, and norE expression did not. The order of abundance of efflux pump transcripts in all fluoroquinolone-susceptible isolates was tolC (highest), then acrA and acrB, and then mdfA and norE. Our findings suggest acrAB overexpression is an indicator of multidrug resistance.
Tigecycline resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae results from ramA upregulation that causes the overexpression of the efflux pump, AcrAB-TolC. Tigecycline mutants, derived from Ecl8ΔramA, can exhibit a multidrug resistance phenotype due to increased transcription of the marA, rarA, acrAB, and oqxAB genes. These findings support the idea that tigecycline or multidrug resistance in K. pneumoniae, first, is not solely dependent on the ramA gene, and second, can arise via alternative regulatory pathways in K. pneumoniae.
Nosocomial isolates of Klebsiella pneumoniae resistant to all commonly used antimicrobial agents have emerged in many regions of the world. It is unknown if efflux systems contribute to the multidrug resistance phenotype.
The expression of genes encoding the efflux pump AcrAB and the global regulators MarA, SoxS and RamA were examined and correlated with antimicrobial resistance.
Twenty isolates belonged to the two important clones representing KPC-possessing strains endemic to our region. Virtually all of these isolates had negligible or absent expression of the genes, and resistance to fluoroquinolones and aminoglycosides could be explained by alternative mechanisms. All of these isolates were susceptible to tigecycline. A group of 14 heterogeneous isolates was also examined. There was a correlation between expression of marA with expression of soxS. Only expression of soxS was significantly correlated with expression of acrB. With a background substitution in GyrA, increased expression of acrB and marA appeared to contribute to fluoroquinolone resistance in some isolates. A correlation was noted between expression of soxS and ramA (but not marA and acrB) and tigecycline MICs. Following in vitro exposure to tigecycline, resistance occurred in association with a marked increase in marA and acrB expression in isolates lacking expression of soxS and ramA.
While laboratory-derived tigecycline resistance was associated with increased acrB expression, the variation in tigecycline MICs in clinical isolates was associated only with selected regulator genes. It appears that other mechanisms beyond activation of the acrAB system mediate tigecycline resistance.
efflux; tigecycline; multidrug-resistant
The mechanisms by which RND pumps contribute to pathogenicity are currently not understood. Using the AcrAB-TolC system as a paradigm multidrug-resistant efflux pump and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium as a model pathogen, we have demonstrated that AcrA, AcrB, and TolC are each required for efficient adhesion to and invasion of epithelial cells and macrophages by Salmonella in vitro. In addition, AcrB and TolC are necessary for Salmonella to colonize poultry. Mutants lacking acrA, acrB, or tolC showed differential expression of major operons and proteins involved in pathogenesis. These included chemotaxis and motility genes, including cheWY and flgLMK and 14 Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI)-1-encoded type III secretion system genes, including sopE, and associated effector proteins. Reverse transcription-PCR confirmed these data for identical mutants in two other S. Typhimurium backgrounds. Western blotting showed reduced production of SipA, SipB, and SipC. The absence of AcrB or TolC also caused widespread repression of chemotaxis and motility genes in these mutants, and for acrB::aph, this was associated with decreased motility. For mutants lacking a functional acrA or acrB gene, the nap and nir operons were repressed, and both mutants grew poorly in anaerobic conditions. All phenotypes were restored to that of the wild type by trans-complementation with the wild-type allele of the respective inactivated gene. These data explain how mutants lacking a component of AcrAB-TolC are attenuated and that this phenotype is a result of decreased expression of numerous genes encoding proteins involved in pathogenicity. The link between antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity establishes the AcrAB-TolC system as fundamental to the biology of Salmonella.
Escherichia coli mutants with improved organic solvent tolerance levels showed high levels of outer membrane protein TolC and inner membrane protein AcrA. The TolC level was regulated positively by MarA, Rob, or SoxS. A possible mar-rob-sox box sequence was found upstream of the tolC gene. These findings suggest that tolC is a member of the mar-sox regulon responsive to stress conditions. When a defective tolC gene was transferred to n-hexane- or cyclohexane-tolerant strains by P1 transduction, the organic solvent tolerance level was lowered dramatically to the decane-tolerant and nonane-sensitive level. The tolerance level was restored by transformation of the transductants with a wild-type tolC gene. Therefore, it is evident that TolC is essential for E. coli to maintain organic solvent tolerance.
The development of fluoroquinolone resistance in Escherichia coli may be associated with mutations in regulatory gene loci such as marRAB that lead to increased multidrug efflux, presumably through activation of expression of the AcrAB multidrug efflux pump. We found that multidrug-resistant (MDR) phenotypes with enhanced efflux can also be selected by fluoroquinolones from marRAB- or acrAB-inactivated E. coli K-12 strains having a single mutation in the quinolone-resistance-determining region of gyrA. Mutant 3-AG100MKX, obtained from a mar knockout strain after two selection steps, showed enhanced expression of acrB in a reverse transcriptase PCR associated with insertion of IS186 into the AcrAB repressor gene acrR. In vitro selection experiments with acrAB knockout strains yielded MDR mutants after a single step. Enhanced efflux in these mutants was due to increased expression of acrEF and associated with insertion of IS2 into the upstream region of acrEF, presumably creating a hybrid promoter. These observations confirm the importance of efflux-associated nontarget gene mutations and indicate that transposition of genetic elements may have a role in the development of fluoroquinolone resistance in E. coli.
AcrAB-TolC imparts a strong intrinsic resistance phenotype to many clinically significant molecules in Escherichia coli. This complex is composed of a pump, AcrB, and a periplasmic protein, AcrA, that exports substrates through a common outer membrane porin, TolC. A sequence survey of the pump-specific components, acrA and acrB, was conducted on three discrete animal reservoirs: rodents, bovines, and catfish. Although two of the reservoirs (bovine and catfish) were agrarian, and antibiotic use (ceftiofur and oxytetracycline/Romet 30, respectively) was reported for them, the vast majority of structural polymorphisms were silent except for T104A (AcrA) and Q733R (AcrB), found in certain bovine-derived strains. Overall, the genes were well conserved, with high ratios of synonymous to nonsynonymous substitutions (dS/dN ratios), consistent with or, in the case of acrB, better than those of standard multilocus sequence typing (MLST) loci. Furthermore, predicted recombination points from single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) patterns in acrB support a modular evolution of transporter proteins, consistent with an ancient origin. However, functional studies with clones representing the major silent SNPs and the nonsilent mutation in acrB failed to generate significant differences in resistance to a range of common efflux pump substrates. Interestingly, a comparison between log-phase acrA and acrB expression profiles yielded inconsistent trends, with acrB expression increasing modestly (<1.8-fold) in many strains from the antibiotic-enriched pools. Our results suggest that structural polymorphisms in this major efflux pump system may not contribute significantly to adaptive resistance by altering function or substrate specificity but may have a potential use in improving phylogenetic relationships and/or source tracking.
The AraC family transcription factor MarA activates ∼40 genes (the marA/soxS/rob regulon) of the Escherichia coli chromosome resulting in different levels of resistance to a wide array of antibiotics and to superoxides. Activation of marA/soxS/rob regulon promoters occurs in a well-defined order with respect to the level of MarA; however, the order of activation does not parallel the strength of MarA binding to promoter sequences. To understand this lack of correspondence, we developed a computational model of transcriptional activation in which a transcription factor either increases or decreases RNA polymerase binding, and either accelerates or retards post-binding events associated with transcription initiation. We used the model to analyze data characterizing MarA regulation of promoter activity. The model clearly explains the lack of correspondence between the order of activation and the MarA-DNA affinity and indicates that the order of activation can only be predicted using information about the strength of the full MarA-polymerase-DNA interaction. The analysis further suggests that MarA can activate without increasing polymerase binding and that activation can even involve a decrease in polymerase binding, which is opposite to the textbook model of activation by recruitment. These findings are consistent with published chromatin immunoprecipitation assays of interactions between polymerase and the E. coli chromosome. We find that activation involving decreased polymerase binding yields lower latency in gene regulation and therefore might confer a competitive advantage to cells. Our model yields insights into requirements for predicting the order of activation of a regulon and enables us to suggest that activation might involve a decrease in polymerase binding which we expect to be an important theme of gene regulation in E. coli and beyond.
When environmental conditions change, cell survival can depend on sudden production of proteins that are normally in low demand. Protein production is controlled by transcription factors which bind to DNA near genes and either increase or decrease RNA production. Many puzzles remain concerning the ways transcription factors do this. Recently we collected data relating the intracellular level of a single transcription factor, MarA, to the increase in expression of several genes related to antibiotic and superoxide resistance in Escherichia coli. These data indicated that target genes are turned on in a well-defined order with respect to the level of MarA, enabling cells to mount a response that is commensurate to the level of threat detected in the environment. Here we develop a computational model to yield insight into how MarA turns on its target genes. The modeling suggests that MarA can increase the frequency with which a transcript is made while decreasing the overall presence of the transcription machinery at the start of a gene. This mechanism is opposite to the textbook model of transcriptional activation; nevertheless it enables cells to respond quickly to environmental challenges and is likely of general importance for gene regulation in E. coli and beyond.
Efflux pumps function to rid bacteria of xenobiotics, including antibiotics, bile salts, and organic solvents. TolC, which forms an outer membrane channel, is an essential component of several efflux pumps in Escherichia coli. We asked whether TolC has a role during growth in the absence of xenobiotics. Because tolC transcription is activated by three paralogous activators, MarA, SoxS, and Rob, we examined the regulation of these activators in tolC mutants. Using transcriptional fusions, we detected significant upregulation of marRAB and soxS transcription and Rob protein activity in tolC mutants. Three mechanisms could be distinguished: (i) activation of marRAB transcription was independent of marRAB, soxR, and rob functions; (ii) activation of soxS transcription required SoxR, a sensor of oxidants; and (iii) Rob protein was activated posttranscriptionally. This mechanism is similar to the mechanisms of upregulation of marRAB, soxS, and Rob by treatment with certain phenolics, superoxides, and bile salts, respectively. The transcription of other marA/soxS/rob regulon promoters, including tolC itself, was also elevated in tolC mutants. We propose that TolC is involved in the efflux of certain cellular metabolites, not only xenobiotics. As these metabolites accumulate during growth, they trigger the upregulation of MarA, SoxS, and Rob, which in turn upregulate tolC and help rid the bacteria of these metabolites, thereby restoring homeostasis.
We identified the genes encoding the AcrA-AcrB-TolC efflux pump in Enterobacter aerogenes and constructed acrAB and tolC mutants from a multidrug-resistant isolate. Both derivatives were more susceptible to antibiotics than the parental strain. Sequence analysis and complementation experiments revealed that the multidrug-resistant isolate is an acrR mutant.
In Escherichia coli, the TolC–AcrAB complex forms a major antibiotic efflux system with broad substrate specificity. During the complex assembly, the periplasmic helices and bottom turns of TolC are thought to interact with a hairpin helix of AcrA and hairpin loops of AcrB respectively. In the present study we show that a four-residue substitution in TolC’s turn 1, which connects outer helices 3 and 4 proximal to TolC’s periplasmic aperture, confers antibiotic hypersensitivity without affecting TolC-mediated phage or colicin infection. However, despite the null-like drug sensitivity phenotype, chemical cross-linking analysis revealed no apparent defects in the ability of the mutant TolC protein to physically interact with AcrA and AcrB. A role for TolC turn 1 residues in the functional assembly of the tripartite efflux pump complex was uncovered through isolating suppressor mutations of the mutant TolC protein that mapped within acrA and by utilizing a labile AcrA protein. The data showed that AcrA-mediated suppression of antibiotic sensitivity was achieved by dilating the TolC aperture/channel in an AcrB-dependent manner. The results underscore the importance of the periplasmic turn 1 of TolC in the functional assembly of the tripartite efflux complex and AcrA in transitioning TolC from its closed to open state.
The Escherichia coli tolC encodes a major outer membrane protein with multiple functions in export (e. g., diverse xenobiotics, hemolysin) and as an attachment site for phage and colicins. tolC is regulated in part by MarA, SoxS and Rob, three paralogous transcriptional activators which bind a sequence called the marbox and which activate multiple antibiotic and superoxide resistance functions. Two previously identified tolC promoters, p1 and p2, are not regulated by MarA, SoxS or Rob but p2 is activated by EvgAS and PhoPQ which also regulate other functions. Using transcriptional fusions and primer extension assays, we show here that tolC has two additional strong overlapping promoters, p3 and p4, which are downstream of p1, p2 and the marbox and are activated by MarA, SoxS and Rob. p3 and p4 are configured so that a single marbox suffices to activate transcription from both promoters. At the p3 promoter, the marbox is separated by 20 bp from the −10 hexamer for RNA polymerase but at the p4 promoter, the same marbox is separated by 30 bp from the −10 hexamer. The multiple tolC promoters may allow the cell to respond to diverse environments by coordinating tolC transcription with other appropriate functions.
gene regulation; outer membrane protein; transcriptional start sites; efflux pumps; antibiotic resistance
In Escherichia coli, the MarA protein controls expression of multiple chromosomal genes affecting resistance to antibiotics and other environmental hazards. For a more-complete characterization of the mar regulon, duplicate macroarrays containing 4,290 open reading frames of the E. coli genome were hybridized to radiolabeled cDNA populations derived from mar-deleted and mar-expressing E. coli. Strains constitutively expressing MarA showed altered expression of more than 60 chromosomal genes: 76% showed increased expression and 24% showed decreased expression. Although some of the genes were already known to be MarA regulated, the majority were newly determined and belonged to a variety of functional groups. Some of the genes identified have been associated with iron transport and metabolism; other genes were previously known to be part of the soxRS regulon. Northern blot analysis of selected genes confirmed the results obtained with the macroarrays. The findings reveal that the mar locus mediates a global stress response involving one of the largest networks of genes described.