A molecular definition of the mechanism conferring bacterial multidrug resistance is clinically crucial and today methods for quantitative determination of the uptake of antimicrobial agents with single cell resolution are missing. Using the naturally occurring fluorescence of antibacterial agents after deep ultraviolet (DUV) excitation, we developed a method to non-invasively monitor the quinolones uptake in single bacteria. Our approach is based on a DUV fluorescence microscope coupled to a synchrotron beamline providing tuneable excitation from 200 to 600 nm. A full spectrum was acquired at each pixel of the image, to study the DUV excited fluorescence emitted from quinolones within single bacteria. Measuring spectra allowed us to separate the antibiotic fluorescence from the autofluorescence contribution. By performing spectroscopic analysis, the quantification of the antibiotic signal was possible. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the intracellular accumulation of a clinical antibitiotic could be determined and discussed in relation with the level of drug susceptibility for a multiresistant strain. This method is especially important to follow the behavior of quinolone molecules at individual cell level, to quantify the intracellular concentration of the antibiotic and develop new strategies to combat the dissemination of MDR-bacteria. In addition, this original approach also indicates the heterogeneity of bacterial population when the same strain is under environmental stress like antibiotic attack.
Cross-resistance to cefoxitin (FOX), chloramphenicol (CMP), and quinolones (nalidixic acid [NAL]) related to a putative efflux system overexpression has recently been reported for Klebsiella pneumoniae. The potential impact of this multidrug resistance (MDR) on the virulence of K. pneumoniae was evaluated in the Caenorhabditis elegans model. For 2 of the 3 MDR clinical isolates studied, a significant increase in acrB transcription was found in comparison with their antibiotic-susceptible revertants. ATCC 138821 and MDR, revertant, and derivative strains with altered porin expression were studied. Strains proved or suspected to overexpress an efflux system were significantly more virulent than the ATCC and revertant strains (time to kill 50% of nematodes [LT50] in days: 3.4 to 3.8 ± 0.2 versus 4.1 to 4.4 ± 0.3, P < 0.001). Inversely, strains with altered porin expression were significantly less virulent, independently of the expression level of efflux system (LT50 = 5.4 to 5.6 ± 0.2, P < 0.001). Altered porin expression did not change MICs of CMP and NAL but did those of FOX (4 to 16× MIC) and ertapenem (16 to 64× MIC). The strains with a normally or an overexpressed efflux system that received the β-lactamase CTX-M-15 became more widely resistant without modification of their virulence potential, suggesting that balance between resistance and virulence is dependent on the type of resistance mechanisms. In conclusion, this study shows that the expression of both efflux systems and porins is a key factor not only for antibiotic resistance but also virulence potential in K. pneumoniae.
Burkholderia is a bacterial genus comprising several pathogenic species, including two species highly pathogenic for humans, B. pseudomallei and B. mallei. B. thailandensis is a weakly pathogenic species closely related to both B. pseudomallei and B. mallei. It is used as a study model. These bacteria are able to exhibit multiple resistance mechanisms towards various families of antibiotics. By sequentially plating B. thailandensis wild type strains on chloramphenicol we obtained several resistant variants. This chloramphenicol-induced resistance was associated with resistance against structurally unrelated antibiotics including quinolones and tetracyclines. We functionally and proteomically demonstrate that this multidrug resistance phenotype, identified in chloramphenicol-resistant variants, is associated with the overexpression of two different efflux pumps. These efflux pumps are able to expel antibiotics from several families, including chloramphenicol, quinolones, tetracyclines, trimethoprim and some β-lactams, and present a partial susceptibility to efflux pump inhibitors. It is thus possible that Burkholderia species can develop such adaptive resistance mechanisms in response to antibiotic pressure resulting in emergence of multidrug resistant strains. Antibiotics known to easily induce overexpression of these efflux pumps should be used with discernment in the treatment of Burkholderia infections.
We investigated the occurrence of multidrug resistance in 44 Enterobacter aerogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae clinical isolates. Efflux was involved in resistance in E. aerogenes isolates more frequently than in K. pneumoniae isolates (100 versus 38% of isolates) and was associated with the expression of phenylalanine arginine β-naphthylamide-susceptible active efflux. AcrA-TolC overproduction in E. aerogenes isolates was noted. An analysis of four E. aerogenes isolates for which cefepime MICs were high revealed no modification in porin expression but a new specific mutation in the AmpC β-lactamase.
Multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria have become a major concern in hospitals worldwide and urgently require the development of new antibacterial molecules. Peptide deformylase is an intracellular target now well-recognized for the design of new antibiotics. The bacterial susceptibility to such a cytoplasmic target primarily depends on the capacity of the compound to reach and accumulate in the cytosol.
To determine the respective involvement of penetration (influx) and pumping out (efflux) mechanisms to peptide deformylase inhibitors (PDF-I) activity, the potency of various series was determined using various genetic contexts (efflux overproducers or efflux-deleted strains) and membrane permeabilizers. Depending on the structure of the tested molecules, two behaviors could be observed: (i) for actinonin the first PDF-I characterized, the AcrAB efflux system was the main parameter involved in the bacterial susceptibility, and (ii), for the lastest PDF-Is such as the derivatives of 2-(5-bromo-1H-indol-3-yl)-N-hydroxyacetamide, the penetration through the membrane was a important limiting step.
Our results clearly show that the bacterial membrane plays a key role in modulating the antibacterial activity of PDF-Is. The bacterial susceptibility for these new antibacterial molecules can be improved by two unrelated ways in MDR strains: by collapsing the Acr efflux activity or by increasing the uptake rate through the bacterial membrane. The efficiency of the second method is associated with the nature of the compound.
The high mortality impact of infectious diseases will increase due to accelerated evolution of antibiotic resistance in important human pathogens. Development of antibiotic resistance is a evolutionary process inducing the erosion of the effectiveness of our arsenal of antibiotics. Resistance is not necessarily limited to a single class of antibacterial agents but may affect many unrelated compounds; this is termed ‘multidrug resistance’ (MDR). The major mechanism of MDR is the active expulsion of drugs by bacterial pumps; the treatment of Gram negative bacterial infections is compromised due to resistance mechanisms including the expression of efflux pumps that actively expel various usual antibiotics (ß-lactams, quinolones, …).
Enterobacter aerogenes has emerged among Enterobacteriaceae associated hospital infections during the last twenty years due to its faculty of adaptation to antibiotic stresses. Clinical isolates of E. aerogenes belonging to two strain collections isolated in 1995 and 2003 respectively, were screened to assess the involvement of efflux pumps in antibiotic resistance. Drug susceptibility assays were performed on all bacterial isolates and an efflux pump inhibitor (PAßN) previously characterized allowed to decipher the role of efflux in the resistance. Accumulation of labelled chloramphenicol was monitored in the presence of an energy poison to determine the involvement of active efflux on the antibiotic intracellular concentrations. The presence of the PAßN-susceptible efflux system was also identified in resistant E. aerogenes strains.
For the first time a noticeable increase in clinical isolates containing an efflux mechanism susceptible to pump inhibitor is report within an 8 year period. After the emergence of extended spectrum ß-lactamases in E. aerogenes and the recent characterisation of porin mutations in clinical isolates, this study describing an increase in inhibitor-susceptible efflux throws light on a new step in the evolution of mechanism in E. aerogenes.
Bacterial adaptation to external stresses and toxic compounds is a key step in the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains that are a serious threat to human health. Although some of the proteins and regulators involved in antibiotic resistance mechanisms have been described, no information is available to date concerning the early bacterial response to external stresses. Here we report that the expression of ompX, encoding an outer membrane protein, is increased during early exposure to drugs or environmental stresses. At the same time, the level of ompF porin expression is noticeably affected. Because of the role of these proteins in membrane permeability, these data suggest that OmpF and OmpX are involved in the control of the penetration of antibiotics such as β-lactams and fluoroquinolones through the enterobacterial outer membrane. Consequently, the early control of ompX and ompF induced by external stresses may represent a preliminary response to antibiotics, thus triggering the initial bacterial line of defense against antibiotherapy.
The florfenicol-chloramphenicol resistance gene floR from Salmonella enterica was previously identified and postulated to belong to the major facilitator (MF) superfamily of drug exporters. Here, we confirmed a computer-predicted transmembrane topological model of FloR, using the phoA gene fusion method, and classified this protein in the DHA12 family (containing 12 transmembrane domains) of MF efflux transporters. We also showed that FloR is a transporter specific for structurally associated phenicol drugs (chloramphenicol, florfenicol, thiamphenicol) which utilizes the proton motive force to energize an active efflux mechanism. By site-directed mutagenesis of specific charged residues belonging to putative transmembrane segments (TMS), two residues essential for active efflux function, D23 in TMS1 and R109 in TMS4, were identified. Of these, the acidic residue D23 seems to participate directly in the affinity pocket involved in phenicol derivative recognition. A third residue, E283 in TMS9, seems to be necessary for correct membrane folding of the transporter.
The role of the AcrAB-TolC pump in macrolide and ketolide susceptibility in Escherichia coli and Enterobacter aerogenes was studied. Efflux pump inhibitor restored erythromycin, clarithromycin, and telithromycin susceptibilities to multidrug-resistant isolates. No modification of telithromycin accumulation was detected in E. aerogenes acrAB or tolC derivatives compared to that in the parental strain. Two independent efflux pumps, inhibited by phenylalanine arginine β-naphthylamide, expel macrolides and telithromycin in E. aerogenes.
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.
The prevalence of active drug efflux pump and porin alterations was investigated in Turkish nosocomial strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae exhibiting a multidrug-resistant phenotype. MICs of various antibiotics, including quinolones, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and β-lactams, for those strains were determined either with or without the efflux pump inhibitor phenylalanine arginine β-naphthylamide (PAβN). Thirty-nine percent of the strains exhibited a PAβN-modulated resistance for quinolones, chloramphenicol, and tetracycline. In these strains, a significant increase of chloramphenicol accumulation was gained in the presence of the efflux pump inhibitor PAβN or with the energy uncoupler carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone. Moreover, high-level expression of the membrane fusion protein AcrA, which was immunodetected in most of those isolates, suggests that the AcrAB/TolC efflux machinery contributed to their antibiotic resistance. Studies of K. pneumoniae porins indicated that the majority of the strains, including extended-spectrum β-lactamase producers and efflux-positive ones, presented an alteration in their sorbitol-sensitive porin (OmpK35) expression. This is the first report showing the prominent role of active drug efflux in the antibiotic resistance of nosocomial K. pneumoniae strains from Turkey.
In Enterobacter aerogenes and Klebsiella pneumoniae, efflux provides efficient extrusion of antibiotics and contributes to the multidrug resistance phenotype. One of the alkoxyquinoline derivatives studied here, 2,8-dimethyl-4-(2′-pyrrolidinoethyl)-oxyquinoline, restores noticeable drug susceptibility to resistant clinical strains. Analyses of energy-dependent chloramphenicol efflux indicate that this compound inhibits the efflux pump mechanism and improves the activity of structurally unrelated antibiotics on multidrug-resistant E. aerogenes and K. pneumoniae isolates.
Two clinical strains of Enterobacter aerogenes that exhibited phenotypes of multiresistance to β-lactam antibiotics, fluoroquinolones, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and kanamycin were investigated. Both strains showed a porin pattern different from that of a susceptible strain, with a drastic reduction in the amount of the major porin but with an apparently conserved normal structure (size and immunogenicity), together with overproduction of two known outer membrane proteins, OmpX and LamB. In addition, the full-length O-polysaccharide phenotype was replaced by a semirough Ra phenotype. Moreover, in one isolate the intracellular accumulation of chloramphenicol was increased in the presence of the energy uncoupler carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone, suggesting an energy-dependent efflux of chloramphenicol in this strain. The resistance strategies used by these isolates appear to be similar to that induced by stress in Escherichia coli cells.
We determined the sequence of the entire marRAB operon in Enterobacter aerogenes. It is functionally and structurally analogous to the Escherichia coli operon. The overexpression of E. aerogenes MarA induces a multidrug resistance phenotype in a susceptible strain, demonstrated by a noticeable resistance to various antibiotics, a decrease in immunodetected porins, and active efflux of norfloxacin.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolate SOF-1 was resistant to cefepime and susceptible to ceftazidime. This resistance phenotype was explained by the expression of OXA-31, which shared 98% amino acid identity with a class D β-lactamase, OXA-1. The oxa-31 gene was located on a ca. 300-kb nonconjugative plasmid and on a class 1 integron. No additional efflux mechanism for cefepime was detected in P. aeruginosa SOF-1. Resistance to cefepime and susceptibility to ceftazidime in P. aeruginosa were conferred by OXA-1 as well.