High-level fluoroquinolone (FQ) resistance in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium phage type DT204 has been previously shown to be essentially due to both multiple target gene mutations and active efflux by the AcrAB-TolC efflux system. In this study we show that in intermediatly resistant acrB-inactivated serovar Typhimurium DT204 mutants, high-level resistance to FQs can be restored on in vitro selection with FQs. In each FQ- resistant mutant selected from serovar Typhimurium DT204 acrB mutant strains, an insertion sequence (IS1 or IS10) was found integrated upstream of the acrEF operon, coding for AcrEF, an efflux pump highly homologous to AcrAB. In one of the strains, transposition of IS1 caused partial deletion of acrS, the putative local repressor gene of the acrEF operon. Sequence analysis showed that both IS1 and IS10 elements contain putative promoter sequences that might alter the expression of adjacent acrEF genes. Indeed, reverse transcription-PCR experiments showed an 8- to 10-fold increase in expression of acrF in these insertional mutants, relative to their respective parental strain, which correlated well with the resistance levels observed to FQs and other unrelated drugs. It is noteworthy that AcrEF did not contribute to the intrinsic drug resistance of serovar Typhimurium, since acrF deletion in wild-type strains did not result in any increase in drug susceptibility. Moreover, deletion of acrS did not cause any acrF overexpression or any decrease in drug susceptibility, suggesting that acrEF overexpression is mediated solely by the IS1 and IS10 promoter sequences and not by inactivity of AcrS. Southern blot experiments showed that the number of chromosomal IS1 and IS10 elements in the serovar Typhimurium DT204 genome was about 5 and 15 respectively. None were detected in epidemic serovar Typhimurium DT104 strains or in the serovar Typhimurium reference strain LT2. Carrying IS1 and/or IS10 elements in their chromosome may thus be a selective advantage for serovar Typhimurium DT204 strains as opposed to DT104 strains for which no high-level FQ resistance nor insertional mutations were found. Taken together, the results of the present study indicate that the IS1- or IS10- activated AcrEF efflux pump may relay AcrAB in serovar Typhimurium, and underline the importance of transposable elements in the acquisition of FQ and multidrug resistance.
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.
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.
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.
Comparative reverse transcription-PCR in combination with denaturing high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis was used to determine the levels of expression of soxS, marA, acrF, acrB, and acrD in multiple-antibiotic-resistant (MAR) Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium isolates and mutants of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344 with defined deletions. Posttherapy MAR clinical isolates had increased levels of expression of all genes except soxS. S. enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344 ΔacrB expressed 7.9-fold more acrF than the parent strain. A strain with an acrF deletion expressed 4.6-fold more acrB. Deletion of acrB and/or acrF resulted in 2.7- to 4.3-fold more marA mRNA and 3.6- to 4.9-fold increases in the levels of expression of acrD but had a variable effect on the expression of soxS. All mutants were hypersusceptible to antibiotics, dyes, and detergents; but the MIC changes were more noticeable for SL1344 with the acrB deletion than for the mutant with the acrF disruption. These mutants had different but overlapping phenotypes, and the concentrations of ciprofloxacin accumulated by the mutants were different. These data suggest that acrB, acrF, and acrD are coordinately regulated and that their expression influences the expression of the transcriptional activators marA and soxS.
Salmonella enterica is an important enteric pathogen, and its various serovars cause both systemic and intestinal diseases in humans and domestic animals. The emergence of multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella, leading to increased morbidity and mortality, has further complicated its management. Hfq is an RNA chaperon that mediates the binding of small RNAs to mRNA and assists in post-transcriptional gene regulation in bacteria. Although Hfq is related to important phenotypes including virulence in Salmonella, its role in the drug resistance of this organism is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of Hfq in intrinsic drug resistance of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium. hfq Mutant was susceptible to acriflavine. Although there is a relationship between the production of the AcrB multidrug efflux pump and Hfq in Escherichia coli, the deletion of the drug efflux acrB did not impair the effect of hfq deletion on Salmonella susceptibility. In contrast, the deletion of another drug efflux gene, smvA, impaired the effect of hfq deletion on acriflavine susceptibility. These results indicate that Hfq regulates the intrinsic drug resistance, and it may influence drug susceptibility by regulating SmvA in Salmonella.
drug efflux system; drug resistance; Hfq, Salmonella; small RNA
In the sequenced genome of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strain LT2, an open reading frame (STM0580) coding for a putative regulatory protein of the TetR family is found upstream of the ramA gene. Overexpression of ramA results in increased expression of the AcrAB efflux pump and, consequently, multidrug resistance (MDR) in several bacterial species. The inactivation of the putative regulatory protein gene upstream of ramA in a susceptible serovar Typhimurium strain resulted in an MDR phenotype with fourfold increases in the MICs of unrelated antibiotics, such as quinolones/fluoroquinolones, phenicols, and tetracycline. The inactivation of this gene also resulted in a fourfold increase in the expression of ramA and a fourfold increase in the expression of the AcrAB efflux pump. These results indicated that the gene encodes a local repressor of ramA and was thus named ramR. In contrast, the inactivation of marR, marA, soxR, and soxS did not affect the susceptibilities of the strain. In quinolone- or fluoroquinolone-resistant strains of serovar Typhimurium overexpressing AcrAB, several point mutations which resulted in amino acid changes or an in-frame shift were identified in ramR; in addition, mutations interrupting ramR with an IS1 element were identified in high-level fluoroquinolone-resistant serovar Typhimurium DT204 strains. One serovar Typhimurium DT104 isolate had a 2-nucleotide deletion in the putative RamR binding site found upstream of ramA. These mutations were confirmed to play a role in the MDR phenotype by complementing the isolates with an intact ramR gene or by inactivating their respective ramA gene. No mutations in the mar or sox region were found in the strains studied. In conclusion, mutations in ramR appear to play a major role in the upregulation of RamA and AcrAB and, consequently, in the efflux-mediated MDR phenotype of serovar Typhimurium.
AcrAB-TolC is the major, constitutively expressed efflux protein complex that provides resistance to a variety of antimicrobial agents in Escherichia coli. Previous studies showed that AcrA, a periplasmic protein of the membrane fusion protein family, could function with at least two other resistance-nodulation-division family pumps, AcrD and AcrF, in addition to its cognate partner, AcrB. We found that, among other E. coli resistance-nodulation-division pumps, YhiV, but not MdtB or MdtC, could also function with AcrA. When AcrB was assessed for the capacity to function with AcrA homologs, only AcrE, but not YhiU or MdtA, could complement an AcrA deficiency. Since AcrA could, but YhiU could not, function with AcrB, we engineered a series of chimeric mutants of these proteins in order to determine the domain(s) of AcrA that is required for its support of AcrB function. The 290-residue N-terminal segment of the 398-residue protein AcrA could be replaced with a sequence coding for the corresponding region of YhiU, but replacement of the region between residues 290 and 357 produced a protein incapable of functioning with AcrB. In contrast, the replacement of residues 357 through 397 of AcrA still produced a functional protein. We conclude that a small region of AcrA close to, but not at, its C terminus is involved in the interaction with its cognate pump protein, AcrB.
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.
Multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium definitive phage type 104 (DT104) strains harbor a genomic island, called Salmonella genomic island 1 (SGI1), which contains an antibiotic resistance gene cluster conferring resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, florfenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines. They may be additionally resistant to quinolones. Among the antibiotic resistance genes there are two, i.e., floR and tet(G), which code for efflux pumps of the major facilitator superfamily with 12 transmembrane segments that confer resistance to chloramphenicol-florfenicol and the tetracyclines, respectively. In the present study we determined, by constructing acrB and tolC mutants, the role of the AcrAB-TolC multidrug efflux system in the multidrug resistance of several DT104 strains displaying additional quinolone resistance or not displaying quinolone resistance. This study shows that the quinolone resistance and the decreased fluoroquinolone susceptibilities of the strains are highly dependent on the AcrAB-TolC efflux system and that single mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining region of gyrA are of little relevance in mediating this resistance. Overproduction of the AcrAB efflux pump, as determined by Western blotting with an anti-AcrA polyclonal antibody, appeared to be the major mechanism of resistance to quinolones. Moreover, chloramphenicol-florfenicol and tetracycline resistance also appeared to be highly dependent on the presence of AcrAB-TolC, since the introduction of mutations in the respective acrB and tolC genes resulted in a susceptible or intermediate resistance phenotype, according to clinical MIC breakpoints, despite the presence of the FloR and Tet(G) efflux pumps. Resistance to other antibiotics, ampicillin, streptomycin, and sulfonamides, was not affected in the acrB and tolC mutants of DT104 strains harboring SGI1. Therefore, AcrAB-TolC appears to direct efflux-mediated resistance to quinolones, chloramphenicol-florfenicol, and tetracyclines in multidrug-resistant S. enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 strains.
Active efflux pump is a primary fluoroquinolone resistant mechanism of clinical isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. RamA is an essential element in producing multidrug resistant (MDR) S.enterica serovar Typhimurium. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the roles of RamA on the development of ciprofloxacin, the first choice for the treatment of salmonellosis, resistance in S. enterica serovar Typhimurium. Spontaneous mutants were selected via several passages of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium CVCC541 susceptible strain (ST) on M-H agar with increasing concentrations of ciprofloxacin (CIP). Accumulation of ciprofloxacin was tested by the modified fluorometric method. The expression levels of MDR efflux pumps were determined by real time RT-PCR. In ST and its spontaneous mutants, the ramA gene was inactivated by insertion of the kan gene and compensated on a recombinant plasmid pGEXΦ(gst-ramA). The mutant prevention concentration (MPC) and mutant frequencies of ciprofloxacin against ST and a spontaneous mutant in the presence, absence and overexpression of RamA were tested. Four spontaneous mutants (SI1-SI4) were obtained. The SI1 (CIP MICs, 0.1 mg/L) without any target site mutation in its quinolone resistant determining regions (QRDRs) and SI3 (CIP MICs, 16 mg/L) harboring the Ser83→Phe mutation in its QRDR of GyrA strains exhibited reduced susceptibility and resistance to multidrugs, respectively. In SI1, RamA was the main factor that controlled the susceptibility to ciprofloxacin by activating MdtK as well as increasing the expression level of acrAB. In SI3, RamA played predominant role in ciprofloxacin resistance via increasing the expression level of acrAB. Likewise, the deficiency of RamA decreased the MPCs and mutant frequencies of ST and SI2 to ciprofloxacin. In conclusion, the expression of RamA promoted the development of ciprofloxacin resistant mutants of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium. The inhibition of RamA could decrease the appearance of the ciprofloxacin resistant mutants.
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
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.
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.
The occurrence of active efflux and cell wall modifications were studied in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium mutants that were selected with enrofloxacin and whose phenotypes of resistance to fluoroquinolones could not be explained only by mutations in the genes coding for gyrase or topoisomerase IV. Mutant BN18/21 exhibited a decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (MIC = 0.125 μg/ml) but did not have a mutation in the gyrA gene. Mutants BN18/41 and BN18/71 had the same substitution, Gly81Cys in GyrA, but exhibited different levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin (MICs = 2 and 8 μg/ml, respectively). None of the mutants had mutations in the parC gene. Evidence for active efflux was provided by a classical fluorimetric method, which revealed a three- to fourfold decrease in ciprofloxacin accumulation in the three mutants compared to that in the parent strain, which was annuled by addition of the efflux pump inhibitor carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone. In mutant BN18/71, a second fluorimetric method also showed a 50% reduction in the level of accumulation of ethidium bromide, a known efflux pump substrate. Immunoblotting and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay experiments with an anti-AcrA antibody revealed that the resistance phenotype was strongly correlated with the expression level of the AcrAB efflux pump and suggested that decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin due to active efflux probably related to overproduction of this pump could occur before that due to gyrA mutations. Alterations were also found in the outer membrane protein and lipopolysaccharide profiles of the mutants, and these alterations were possibly responsible for the decrease in the permeability of the outer membrane that was observed in the mutants and that could act synergistically with active efflux to decrease the level of ciprofloxacin accumulation.
Understanding the impact of antimicrobial use on the emergence of resistant bacteria is imperative to prevent its emergence. For instance, activation of the AcrAB efflux pumps is responsible for the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella strains. Here, we examined the expression levels of acrB and its multiple regulator genes (RamA, SoxS, MarA, and Rob) in 17 field isolates of S. Choleraesuis by using quantitative PCR methods. The expression of acrB increased in eight of the field isolates (P < 0.05). The expression of acrB was associated with that of ramA in one isolate, soxS in one isolate, and both these genes in six isolates. Thereafter, to examine the effect of selected antimicrobials (enrofloxacin, ampicillin, oxytetracycline, kanamycin, and spectinomycin) on the expression of acrB and its regulator genes, mutants derived from five isolates of S. Choleraesuis were selected by culture on antimicrobial-containing plates. The expression of acrB and ramA was higher in the mutants selected using enrofloxacin (3.3–6.3- and 24.5–37.7-fold, respectively), ampicillin (1.8–7.7- and 16.1–55.9-fold, respectively), oxytetracycline (1.7–3.3- and 3.2–31.1-fold, respectively), and kanamycin (1.6–2.2- and 5.6–26.4-fold, respectively), which are AcrAB substrates, than in each of the parental strains (P < 0.05). In contrast, in AcrAB substrate-selected mutants, the expression of soxS, marA, and rob remained similar to that in parental strains. Of the four antimicrobials, the level of ramA expression was significantly higher in the enrofloxacin- and ampicillin-selected mutants than in the oxytetracycline- and kanamycin-selected mutants (P < 0.05), whereas the expression levels of acrB and multiple regulator genes in spectinomycin-selected mutants were similar to those in each parental strain. These data suggest that exposure to antimicrobials that are AcrAB substrates enhance the activation of the AcrAB efflux pump via RamA, but not via SoxS, MarA, or Rob in S. Choleraesuis.
AcrAB efflux pump; antimicrobial resistance; RamA; Salmonella Choleraesuis; SoxS
Enterobacter cloacae is an emerging clinical pathogen that may be responsible for nosocomial infections. Management of these infections is often difficult, owing to the high frequency of strains that are resistant to disinfectants and antimicrobial agents in the clinical setting. Multidrug efflux pumps, especially those belonging to the resistance-nodulation-division family, play a major role as a mechanism of antimicrobial resistance in gram-negative pathogens. In the present study, we cloned and sequenced the genes encoding an AcrAcB-TolC-like efflux pump from an E. cloacae clinical isolate (isolate EcDC64) showing a broad antibiotic resistance profile. Sequence analysis showed that the acrR, acrA, acrB, and tolC genes encode proteins that display 79.8%, 84%, 88%, and 82% amino acid identities with the respective homologues of Enterobacter aerogenes and are arranged in a similar pattern. Deletion of the acrA gene to yield an AcrA-deficient EcDC64 mutant (EcΔacrA) showed the involvement of AcrAB-TolC in multidrug resistance in E. cloacae. However, experiments with an efflux pump inhibitor suggested that additional efflux systems also play a role in antibiotic resistance. Investigation of several unrelated isolates of E. cloacae by PCR analysis revealed that the AcrAB system is apparently ubiquitous in this species.
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.
Screening of Salmonella mutants for the ability to increase β-lactam resistance has led to the identification of a mutation in hns, which codes for the histone-like nucleoid structuring protein (H-NS). In this study, we report that H-NS modulates multidrug resistance through repression of the genes that encode the AcrEF multidrug efflux pump in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.
The AcrAB-TolC efflux pump plays an intrinsic role in resistance to hydrophobic solvents in Escherichia coli. E. coli OST5500 is hypersensitive to solvents due to inactivation of the acrB gene by insertion of IS30. Suppressor mutants showing high solvent resistance were isolated from OST5500. These mutants produced high levels of AcrE and AcrF proteins, which were not produced in OST5500, and in each mutant an insertion sequence (IS1 or IS2) was found integrated upstream of the acrEF operon, coding for the two proteins. The suppressor mutants lost solvent resistance on inactivation of the acrEF operon. The solvent hypersensitivity of OST5500 was suppressed by introduction of the acrEF operon with IS1 or IS2 integrated upstream but not by introduction of the operon lacking the integrated IS. It was concluded that IS integration activated acrEF, resulting in functional complementation of the acrB mutation. The acrB mutation was also complemented by a plasmid containing acrF or acrEF under the control of Plac. The wild-type tolC gene was found to be essential for complementation of the acrB mutation by acrEF. Thus, it is concluded that in these cells a combination of the proteins AcrA, AcrF, and TolC or the proteins AcrE, AcrF, and TolC is functional in solvent efflux instead of the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump.
Point mutations in the topoisomerase (DNA gyrase A) gene are known to be associated with fluoroquinolone resistance in Campylobacter. Recent studies have shown that an efflux pump encoded by cmeABC is also involved in decreased susceptibilities to fluoroquinolones, as well as other antimicrobials. Genome analysis suggests that Campylobacter jejuni contains at least nine other putative efflux pumps. Using insertional inactivation and site-directed mutagenesis, we investigated the potential contributions of these pumps to susceptibilities to chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and tetracycline in C. jejuni and Campylobacter coli. Insertional inactivation of cmeB resulted in 4- to 256-fold decreases in the MICs of chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and tetracycline, with erythromycin being the most significantly affected. In contrast, inactivation of all other putative efflux pumps had no effect on susceptibility to any of the four antimicrobials tested. Mutation of gyrA at codon 86 (Thr-Ile) caused 128- and 64-fold increases in the MICs of ciprofloxacin and nalidixic acid, respectively. The replacement of the mutated gyrA with a wild-type gyrA allele resulted in a 32-fold decrease in the ciprofloxacin MIC and no change in the nalidixic acid MIC. Our findings indicate that CmeABC is the only efflux pump among those tested that influences antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter and that a point mutation (Thr-86-Ile) in gyrA directly causes fluoroquinolone resistance in Campylobacter. These two mechanisms work synergistically in acquiring and maintaining fluoroquinolone resistance in Campylobacter species.
The transcriptomes of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344 lacking a functional ramA or ramR or with plasmid-mediated high-level overexpression of ramA were compared to those of the wild-type parental strain. Inactivation of ramA led to increased expression of 14 SPI-1 genes and decreased expression of three SPI-2 genes, and it altered expression of ribosomal biosynthetic genes and several amino acid biosynthetic pathways. Furthermore, disruption of ramA led to decreased survival within RAW 264.7 mouse macrophages and attenuation within the BALB/c ByJ mouse model. Highly overexpressed ramA led to increased expression of genes encoding multidrug resistance (MDR) efflux pumps, including acrAB, acrEF, and tolC. Decreased expression of 34 Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI) 1 and 2 genes, decreased SipC production, decreased adhesion to and survival within macrophages, and decreased colonization of Caenorhabditis elegans were also seen. Disruption of ramR led to the increased expression of ramA, acrAB, and tolC, but not to the same level as when ramA was overexpressed on a plasmid. Inactivation of ramR had a more limited effect on pathogenicity gene expression. In silico analysis of a suggested RamA-binding consensus sequence identified target genes, including ramR, acrA, tolC, sipABC, and ssrA. This study demonstrates that the regulation of a mechanism of MDR and expression of virulence genes show considerable overlap, and we postulate that such a mechanism is dependent on transcriptional activator concentration and promoter sensitivity. However, we have no evidence to support the hypothesis that increased MDR via RamA regulation of AcrAB-TolC gives rise to a hypervirulent strain.
The relationship between efflux system overexpression and cross-resistance to cefoxitin, quinolones, and chloramphenicol has recently been reported in Klebsiella pneumoniae. In 3 previously published clinical isolates and 17 in vitro mutants selected with cefoxitin or fluoroquinolones, mutations in the potential regulator genes of the AcrAB efflux pump (acrR, ramR, ramA, marR, marA, soxR, soxS, and rob) were searched, and their impacts on efflux-related antibiotic cross-resistance were assessed. All mutants but 1, and 2 clinical isolates, overexpressed acrB. No mutation was detected in the regulator genes studied among the clinical isolates and 8 of the mutants. For the 9 remaining mutants, a mutation was found in the ramR gene in 8 of them and in the soxR gene in the last one, resulting in overexpression of ramA and soxS, respectively. Transformation of the ramR mutants and the soxR mutant with the wild-type ramR and soxR genes, respectively, abolished overexpression of acrB and ramA in the ramR mutants and of soxS in the soxR mutant, as well as antibiotic cross-resistance. Resistance due to efflux system overexpression was demonstrated for 4 new antibiotics: cefuroxime, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, and ertapenem. This study shows that the ramR and soxR genes control the expression of efflux systems in K. pneumoniae and suggests the existence of efflux pumps other than AcrAB and of other loci involved in the regulation of AcrAB expression.
Intrinsic resistance to multiple drugs in many gramnegative bacterial pathogens is conferred by resistance nodulation cell division efflux pumps, which are composed of three essential components as typified by the extensively characterized Escherichia coli AcrA-AcrB-TolC system. The inner membrane drug: proton antiporter AcrB and the outer membrane channel TolC export chemically diverse compounds out of the bacterial cell, and require the activity of the third component, the periplasmic protein AcrA. The crystal structures of AcrB and TolC have previously been determined, and we complete the molecular picture of the efflux system by presenting the structure of a stable fragment of AcrA. The AcrA fragment resembles the elongated sickle shape of its homolog Pseudomonas aeruginosa MexA, being composed of three domains: β-barrel, lipoyl, and α-helical hairpin. Notably, unsuspected conformational flexibility in the α-helical hairpin domain of AcrA is observed, which has potential mechanistic significance in coupling between AcrA conformations and TolC channel opening.
Salmonella enterica serovar Virchow is highly prevalent in humans and farm animals in Israel. In addition to high rates of resistance to multiple antibiotics, this serovar exhibits a high incidence of resistance to nalidixic acid. More than 90% of Salmonella serovar Virchow isolates of human and poultry origin obtained from 1997 to 2004 were resistant to nalidixic acid (MIC ≥ 128 μg/ml), with reduced susceptibility to ciprofloxacin (MIC between 0.125 and 0.250 μg/ml). Most isolates belonged to two predominant, closely related pulsed-field gel electrophoresis image types. Investigation of the mechanisms of quinolone resistance revealed that this pathogen probably emerged from a parental clone that overproduced the AcrAB efflux pump and had a single point mutation in gyrA leading to the Asp87Tyr substitution. The close resemblance between human and poultry isolates points to poultry as a likely source of Salmonella serovar Virchow in the food chain.