antibiotics; resistance; mechanisms; resistance reservoirs; metagenomics; combination therapy
Escherichia coli produces the iron-chelating compound enterobactin to enable growth under iron-limiting conditions. After biosynthesis, enterobactin is released from the cell. However, the enterobactin export system is not fully understood. Previous studies have suggested that the outer membrane channel TolC is involved in enterobactin export. There are several multidrug efflux transporters belonging to resistance-nodulation-cell division (RND) family that require interaction with TolC to function. Therefore, several RND transporters may be responsible for enterobactin export. In this study, we investigated whether RND transporters are involved in enterobactin export using deletion mutants of multidrug transporters in E. coli. Single deletions of acrB, acrD, mdtABC, acrEF, or mdtEF did not affect the ability of E. coli to excrete enterobactin, whereas deletion of tolC did affect enterobactin export. We found that multiple deletion of acrB, acrD, and mdtABC resulted in a significant decrease in enterobactin export and that plasmids carrying the acrAB, acrD, or mdtABC genes restored the decrease in enterobactin export exhibited by the ΔacrB acrD mdtABC mutant. These results indicate that AcrB, AcrD, and MdtABC are required for the secretion of enterobactin.
Honey has a complex chemistry, and its broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity varies with floral source, climate, and harvesting conditions. Methylglyoxal was identified as the dominant antibacterial component of manuka honey. Although it has been known that methylglyoxal has antibacterial activity against gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, there is not much information describing its activity against gram-negative bacteria. In this study, we report the effect of methylglyoxal against multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (MDRP) using 53 clinically isolated strains. We also assessed the effect of deleting the five multidrug efflux systems in P. aeruginosa, as well as the efflux systems in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, on MICs of methylglyoxal. Our results indicate that methylglyoxal inhibits the growth of MDRP at concentrations of 128–512 μg/ml (1.7–7.1 mM) and is not recognized by drug efflux systems.
manuka honey; methylglyoxal; drug efflux system; multidrug resistance; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Streptococcus pneumoniae, a Gram-positive bacterium, is a major cause of invasive infection-related diseases such as pneumonia and sepsis. In blood, erythrocytes are considered to be an important factor for bacterial growth, as they contain abundant nutrients. However, the relationship between S. pneumoniae and erythrocytes remains unclear. We analyzed interactions between S. pneumoniae and erythrocytes, and found that iron ion present in human erythrocytes supported the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, another major Gram-positive sepsis pathogen, while it partially inhibited pneumococcal growth by generating free radicals. S. pneumoniae cells incubated with human erythrocytes or blood were subjected to scanning electron and confocal fluorescence microscopic analyses, which showed that the bacterial cells adhered to and invaded human erythrocytes. In addition, S. pneumoniae cells were found associated with human erythrocytes in cultures of blood from patients with an invasive pneumococcal infection. Erythrocyte invasion assays indicated that LPXTG motif-containing pneumococcal proteins, erythrocyte lipid rafts, and erythrocyte actin remodeling are all involved in the invasion mechanism. In a neutrophil killing assay, the viability of S. pneumoniae co-incubated with erythrocytes was higher than that without erythrocytes. Also, H2O2 killing of S. pneumoniae was nearly completely ineffective in the presence of erythrocytes. These results indicate that even when S. pneumoniae organisms are partially killed by iron ion-induced free radicals, they can still invade erythrocytes. Furthermore, in the presence of erythrocytes, S. pneumoniae can more effectively evade antibiotics, neutrophil phagocytosis, and H2O2 killing.
Single-cell analysis is a powerful method to assess the heterogeneity among individual cells, enabling the identification of very rare cells with properties that differ from those of the majority. In this Methods Article, we describe the use of a large-scale femtoliter droplet array to enclose, isolate, and analyze individual bacterial cells. As a first example, we describe the single-cell detection of drug-tolerant persisters of Pseudomonas aeruginosa treated with the antibiotic carbenicillin. As a second example, this method was applied to the single-cell evaluation of drug efflux activity, which causes acquired antibiotic resistance of bacteria. The activity of the MexAB-OprM multidrug efflux pump system from Pseudomonas aeruginosa was expressed in Escherichia coli and the effect of an inhibitor D13-9001 were assessed at the single cell level.
single-cell analysis; microdevice; drug tolerance; persister; drug resistance; drug efflux; transporter
In Gram-negative bacteria, drug susceptibility is associated with multidrug efflux systems and an outer membrane (OM) barrier. Previous studies revealed that Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium has 10 functional drug efflux pumps. Among them, AcrB is a major factor to maintain the intrinsic drug resistance in this organism. The lipopolysaccharide (LPS) content of OM is also important for resistance to lipophilic drugs; however, the interplay between the multidrug efflux pump and LPS in the intrinsic antibiotic resistance of Salmonella remains to be studied in detail. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between AcrB and LPS in the intrinsic drug resistance of this organism.
The genes encoding LPS core biosynthetic proteins and AcrB were disrupted from the wild-type S. enterica strain ATCC 14028s. The plasmid carrying acrB was transformed into these mutants and then the drug susceptibilities of the mutants and transformants were determined.
Our results showed that the levels of Salmonella intrinsic antibiotic resistance were decreased when the length and branches of core oligosaccharide were lost. Furthermore, the deletion of acrB reduced multidrug resistance of all LPS mutants and AcrB production from the plasmid complemented this phenotype. However, AcrB production could not completely compensate for LPS function in intrinsic resistance.
Both pump inactivation and shortened LPS enhanced drug susceptibility, although the maximum susceptibility was achieved when the two were combined. Hence, these results indicated that the multidrug efflux system and OM barrier are both essential for maintaining intrinsic antibiotic resistance in Salmonella.
AcrB; LPS; multidrug resistance
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
(−)-Epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG) has useful antiviral, antimicrobial, antitoxin, and antitumor properties. Previously, Mori et al. (2008) found that addition of long acyl chains (C16–18) to EGCG enhanced its anti-influenza virus activity up to 44-fold. The chemical stability of EGCG against oxidative degradation was also enhanced by acylation. We further evaluated the in vitro activity spectrum of the EGCG derivatives against a wide range of bacteria and fungi. A series of EGCG O-acyl derivatives were synthesized by lipase-catalyzed transesterification. These derivatives exhibited several-fold higher activities than EGCG, particularly against Gram-positive organisms. Antifungal MICs of the derivatives were also two to fourfold lower than those of EGCG. The activities of the EGCG derivatives against Gram-negative bacteria were not distinguishable from those of EGCG. Among the derivatives evaluated, MICs of dioctanoate and palmitate (C16) for 17 Staphylococcus aureus strains were 4–32 μg/ml, although MIC of EGCG for these 17 strains was ≥128 μg/ml. C16 demonstrated rapid bactericidal activity against methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) ATCC43300 at ≥16 μg/ml. The enhanced activity of C16 against S. aureus was supported by its increased membrane-permeabilizing activity determined by increased SYTOX Green uptake. The EGCG derivatives were exported in Escherichia coli using the efflux pump AcrAB–TolC. The tolC deletion mutant exhibited higher sensitivity to EGCG and the derivatives than wild-type. Addition of long alkyl chains to EGCG significantly enhanced its activities against several bacteria and fungi, particularly against S. aureus including MRSA. C16 might potentially become under specified circumstances an alternative or supplement to antibiotics and disinfectants in the future.
epigallocatechin gallate; fatty acid esters; bactericidal activity Staphylococcus aureus
Recently, multidrug-resistant pathogens have disseminated widely owing essentially to their increased multidrug efflux pump activity. Presently, there is a scarcity of new antibacterial agents, and hence, inhibitors of multidrug efflux pumps belonging to the resistance–nodulation–cell division (RND) family appear useful in the treatment of infections by multidrug-resistant pathogens. Moreover, recent progress in microfabrication technologies has expanded the application of nano/micro-devices to the field of human healthcare, such as the detection of infections and diagnosis of diseases. We developed a microfluidic channel device for a simple and rapid evaluation of bacterial drug efflux activity. By combining the microfluidic device with a fluorogenic compound, fluorescein-di-β-D-galactopyranoside, which is hydrolyzed to a fluorescent dye in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli, we successfully evaluated the effects of inhibitors on the RND-type multidrug efflux pumps MexAB–OprM and MexXY–OprM from Pseudomonas aeruginosa in E. coli. Our new method successfully detected the MexB-specific inhibitory effect of D13-9001 and revealed an unexpected membrane-permeabilizing effect of Phe-Arg-β-naphthylamide, which has long been used as an efflux pump inhibitor.
fluorescein-di-β-D-galactopyranoside; microfluidic channel; fluorescence microscopy; pyridopyrimidine; Phe-Arg-β-naphthylamide; polymyxin B nonapeptide; Escherichia coli; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Fluorescein-di-β-d-galactopyranoside (FDG), a fluorogenic compound, is hydrolyzed by β-galactosidase in the cytoplasm of Escherichia coli to produce a fluorescent dye, fluorescein. We found that both FDG and fluorescein were substrates of efflux pumps, and have developed a new method to evaluate efflux-inhibitory activities in E. coli using FDG and a microfluidic channel device. We used E. coli MG1655 wild-type, ΔacrB (ΔB), ΔtolC (ΔC) and ΔacrBΔtolC (ΔBC) harboring plasmids carrying the mexAB-oprM (pABM) or mexXY-oprM (pXYM) genes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Two inhibitors, MexB-specific pyridopyrimidine (D13-9001) and non-specific Phe-Arg-β-naphthylamide (PAβN) were evaluated. The effects of inhibitors on pumps were observed using the microfluidic channel device under a fluorescence microscope. AcrAB-TolC and analogous pumps effectively prevented FDG influx in wild-type cells, resulting in no fluorescence. In contrast, ΔB or ΔC easily imported and hydrolyzed FDG to fluorescein, which was exported by residual pumps in ΔB. Consequently, fluorescent medium in ΔB and fluorescent cells of ΔC and ΔBC were observed in the microfluidic channels. D13-9001 substantially increased fluorescent cell number in ΔBC/pABM but not in ΔBC/pXYM. PAβN increased medium fluorescence in all strains, especially in the pump deletion mutants, and caused fluorescein accumulation to disappear in ΔC. The checkerboard method revealed that D13-9001 acts synergistically with aztreonam, ciprofloxacin, and erythromycin only against the MexAB-OprM producer (ΔBC/pABM), and PAβN acts synergistically, especially with erythromycin, in all strains including the pump deletion mutants. The results obtained from PAβN were similar to the results from membrane permeabilizer, polymyxin B or polymyxin B nonapeptide by concentration. The new method clarified that D13-9001 specifically inhibited MexAB-OprM in contrast to PAβN, which appeared to be a substrate of the pumps and permeabilized the membranes in E. coli.
NlpE, an outer membrane lipoprotein, functions during envelope stress responses in Gram-negative bacteria. In this study, we report that overproduction of NlpE increases multidrug and copper resistance through activation of the genes encoding the AcrD and MdtABC multidrug efflux pumps in Escherichia coli.
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 acrS regulatory gene is located upstream of the acrEF multidrug efflux system genes. However, the roles of AcrS in regulation of drug efflux pumps have not been clearly understood. Here we show that AcrS represses other multidrug efflux genes, acrAB, which encode a major efflux system in Escherichia coli.
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
A spermidine excretion protein in Escherichia coli was looked for among 33 putative drug exporters thus far identified. Cell toxicity and inhibition of growth due to overaccumulation of spermidine were examined in an E. coli strain deficient in spermidine acetyltransferase, an enzyme that metabolizes spermidine. Toxicity and inhibition of cell growth by spermidine were recovered in cells transformed with pUCmdtJI or pMWmdtJI, encoding MdtJ and MdtI, which belong to the small multidrug resistance family of drug exporters. Both mdtJ and mdtI are necessary for recovery from the toxicity of overaccumulated spermidine. It was also found that the level of mdtJI mRNA was increased by spermidine. The spermidine content in cells cultured in the presence of 2 mM spermidine was decreased, and excretion of spermidine from cells was enhanced by MdtJI, indicating that the MdtJI complex can catalyze excretion of spermidine from cells. It was found that Tyr4, Trp5, Glu15, Tyr45, Tyr61, and Glu82 in MdtJ and Glu5, Glu19, Asp60, Trp68, and Trp81 in MdtI are involved in the excretion activity of MdtJI.
Multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella are now encountered frequently, and the rates of multidrug resistance have increased considerably in recent years. Here, we report that the two-component regulatory system BaeSR increases multidrug and metal resistance in Salmonella through the induction of drug efflux systems. Screening of random fragments of genomic DNA for the ability to increase β-lactam resistance in Salmonella enterica led to the isolation of a plasmid containing baeR, which codes for the response regulator of BaeSR. When overexpressed, baeR significantly increased the resistance of the ΔacrB strain to oxacillin, cloxacillin, and nafcillin. baeR overexpression conferred resistance to novobiocin and deoxycholate, as well as to β-lactams in Salmonella. The increase in drug resistance caused by baeR overexpression was completely suppressed by deletion of the multifunctional outer membrane channel gene tolC. TolC interacts with different drug efflux systems. Among the nine drug efflux systems in Salmonella, quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that BaeR induced the expression of acrD and mdtABC. Double deletion of these two genes completely suppressed BaeR-mediated multidrug resistance, whereas single deletion of either gene did not. The promoter regions of acrD and mdtABC harbor binding sites for the response regulator BaeR, which activates acrD and mdtABC transcription in response to indole, copper, and zinc. In addition to their role in multidrug resistance, we found that BaeSR, AcrD, and MdtABC contribute to copper and zinc resistance in Salmonella. Our results indicate that the BaeSR system increases multidrug and metal resistance in Salmonella by inducing the AcrD and MdtABC drug efflux systems. We found a previously uncharacterized physiological role for the AcrD and MdtABC multidrug efflux systems in metal resistance.
Drug exporters contribute to the intrinsic drug resistance in many organisms. Although there are at least 20 exporter genes in Escherichia coli, most of them apparently do not confer drug resistance in complex laboratory media except for the AcrAB, EmrE, and MdfA efflux systems. In this study, we comprehensively investigated the growth phase-dependent expression of drug exporter genes. The expression of acrAB, emrAB, emrD, emrE, emrKY, mdfA, and ydgFE is stable at moderate levels during any growth phase, whereas mdtEF promoter activity greatly increased with cell growth and reached the maximum level at the late stationary phase. The growth phase-dependent increase in mdtEF expression was also observed on quantitative reverse transcription-PCR analysis. As expected from the transporter expression, the stationary-phase cells actually showed MdtEF-dependent tolerance to drugs and toxic dyes. Growth phase-dependent elevation of mdtEF expression was found to be mediated by the stationary-phase σ factor rpoS and the RpoS-dependent signaling pathway, Hfq, GadY, and GadX. The induction level was decreased by tnaAB deletion, suggesting that indole sensing stimulates this process.
The expression of MdtEF, a multidrug exporter in Escherichia coli, is positively controlled through multiple signaling pathways, but little is known about signals that induce MdtEF expression. In this study, we investigated compounds that induce the expression of the mdtEF genes and found that out of 20 drug exporter genes in E. coli, the expression of mdtEF is greatly induced by N-acetyl-d-glucosamine (GlcNAc). The induction of mdtEF by GlcNAc is not mediated by the evgSA, ydeO, gadX, and rpoS signaling pathways that have been known to regulate mdtEF expression. On the other hand, deletion of the nagE gene, encoding the phosphotransferase (PTS) system for GlcNAc, prevented induction by GlcNAc. The induction of mdtEF by GlcNAc was also greatly inhibited by the addition of cyclic AMP (cAMP) and completely abolished upon deletion of the cAMP receptor protein gene (crp). Other PTS sugars, glucose and d-glucosamine, also induced mdtEF gene expression. These results suggest that mdtEF expression is stimulated through catabolite control.
l-Cysteine is an important amino acid in terms of its industrial applications. We previously found a marked production of l-cysteine from glucose in recombinant Escherichia coli cells expressing an altered cysE gene encoding feedback inhibition-insensitive serine acetyltransferase. Also, a lower level of cysteine desulfhydrase (CD) activity, which is involved in l-cysteine degradation, increased l-cysteine productivity in E. coli. The use of an l-cysteine efflux system could be promising for breeding l-cysteine overproducers. In addition to YdeD and YfiK, which have been reported previously as l-cysteine exporter proteins in E. coli, we analyzed the effects of 33 putative drug transporter genes in E. coli on l-cysteine export and overproduction. Overexpression of the acrD, acrEF, bcr, cusA, emrAB, emrKY, ybjYZ, and yojIH genes reversed the growth inhibition of tnaA (the major CD gene)-disrupted E. coli cells by l-cysteine. We also found that overexpression of these eight genes reduces intracellular l-cysteine levels after cultivation in the presence of l-cysteine. Amino acid transport assays showed that Bcr overexpression conferring bicyclomycin and tetracycline resistance specifically promotes l-cysteine export driven by energy derived from the proton gradient. When a tnaA-disrupted E. coli strain expressing the altered cysE gene was transformed with a plasmid carrying the bcr gene, the transformant exhibited more l-cysteine production than cells carrying the vector only. A reporter gene assay suggested that the bcr gene is constitutively expressed at a substantial level. These results indicate that the multidrug transporter Bcr in the major facilitator family is involved in l-cysteine export and overproduction in genetically engineered E. coli cells.
Iron is an essential metal but can be toxic in excess. While several homeostatic mechanisms prevent oxygen-dependent killing promoted by Fe(II), little is known about how cells cope with Fe(III), which kills by oxygen-independent means. Several Gram-negative bacterial species harbour a regulatory system – termed PmrA/PmrB – that is activated by and required for resistance to Fe(III). We now report the identification of the PmrA-regulated determinants mediating resistance to Fe(III) and Al(III) in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. We establish that these determinants remodel two regions of the lipopolysaccharide, decreasing the negative charge of this major constituent of the outer membrane. Remodelling entails the covalent modification of the two phosphates in the lipid A region with phosphoethanolamine and 4-aminoarabinose, which has been previously implicated in resistance to polymyxin B, as well as dephosphorylation of the Hep(II) phosphate in the core region by the PmrG protein. A mutant lacking the PmrA-regulated Fe(III) resistance genes bound more Fe(III) than the wild-type strain and was defective for survival in soil, suggesting that these PmrA-regulated lipopolysaccharide modifications aid Salmonella's survival and spread in non-host environments.
The BaeSR two-component regulatory system controls expression of exporter genes conferring drug resistance in Escherichia coli (S. Nagakubo, K. Nishino, T. Hirata, and A. Yamaguchi, J. Bacteriol. 184:4161-4167, 2002; N. Baranova and H. Nikaido, J. Bacteriol. 184:4168-4176, 2002). To understand the whole picture of BaeSR regulation, a DNA microarray analysis of the effect of BaeR overproduction was performed. BaeR overproduction activated 59 genes related to two-component signal transduction, chemotactic responses, flagellar biosynthesis, maltose transport, and multidrug transport, and BaeR overproduction also repressed the expression of the ibpA and ibpB genes. All of the changes in the expression levels were also observed by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis. The expression levels of 15 of the 59 BaeR-activated genes were decreased by deletion of baeSR. Of 11 genes induced by indole (a putative inducer of the BaeSR system), 10 required the BaeSR system for induction. Combination of the expression data sets revealed a BaeR-binding site sequence motif, 5′-TTTTTCTCCATDATTGGC-3′ (where D is G, A, or T). Several genes up-regulated by BaeR overproduction, including genes for maltose transport, chemotactic responses, and flagellar biosynthesis, required an intact PhoBR or CreBC two-component regulatory system for up-regulation. These data indicate that there is cross-regulation among the BaeSR, PhoBR, and CreBC two-component regulatory systems. Such a global analysis should reveal the regulatory network of the BaeSR system.
The activity of tigecycline, 9-(t-butylglycylamido)-minocycline, against Escherichia coli KAM3 (acrB) strains harboring plasmids encoding various tetracycline-specific efflux transporter genes, tet(B), tet(C), and tet(K), and multidrug transporter genes, acrAB, acrEF, and bcr, was examined. Tigecycline showed potent activity against all three Tet-expressing, tetracycline-resistant strains, with the MICs for the strains being equal to that for the host strain. In the Tet(B)-containing vesicle study, tigecycline did not significantly inhibit tetracycline efflux-coupled proton translocation and at 10 μM did not cause proton translocation. This suggests that tigecycline is not recognized by the Tet efflux transporter at a low concentration; therefore, it exhibits significant antibacterial activity. These properties can explain its potent activity against bacteria with a Tet efflux resistance determinant. Tigecycline induced the Tet(B) protein approximately four times more efficiently than tetracycline, as determined by Western blotting, indicating that it is at least recognized by a TetR repressor. The MICs for multidrug efflux proteins AcrAB and AcrEF were increased fourfold. Tigecycline inhibited active ethidium bromide efflux from intact E. coli cells overproducing AcrAB. Therefore, tigecycline is a possible substrate of AcrAB and its close homolog, AcrEF, which are resistance-modulation-division-type multicomponent efflux transporters.
The histone-like protein H-NS is a major component of the bacterial nucleoid and plays a crucial role in global gene regulation of enteric bacteria. It is known that the expression of a variety of genes is repressed by H-NS, and mutations in hns result in various phenotypes, but the role of H-NS in the drug resistance of Escherichia coli has not been known. Here we present data showing that H-NS contributes to multidrug resistance by regulating the expression of multidrug exporter genes. Deletion of the hns gene from the ΔacrAB mutant increased levels of resistance against antibiotics, antiseptics, dyes, and detergents. Decreased accumulation of ethidium bromide and rhodamine 6G in the hns mutant compared to that in the parental strain was observed, suggesting the increased expression of some drug exporter(s) in this mutant. The increased drug resistance and decreased drug accumulation caused by the hns deletion were completely suppressed by deletion of the multifunctional outer membrane channel gene tolC. At least eight drug exporter systems require TolC for their functions. Among these, increased expression of acrEF, mdtEF, and emrKY was observed in the Δhns strain by quantitative real-time reverse transcription-PCR analysis. The Δhns-mediated multidrug resistance pattern is quite similar to that caused by overproduction of the AcrEF exporter. Deletion of the acrEF gene greatly suppressed the level of Δhns-mediated multidrug resistance. However, this strain still retained resistance to some compounds. The remainder of the multidrug resistance pattern was similar to that conferred by overproduction of the MdtEF exporter. Double deletion of the mdtEF and acrEF genes completely suppressed Δhns-mediated multidrug resistance, indicating that Δhns-mediated multidrug resistance is due to derepression of the acrEF and mdtEF drug exporter genes.
AcrAB exports some β-lactam antibiotics in the periplasm out of cells via an outer-membrane channel, TolC. It has been reported that eight drug transporters in Escherichia coli cooperate with TolC. In this study, the roles of the drug exporters of E. coli in β-lactam resistance were examined. We found that five of five resistance-nodulation-cell division-type drug exporters confer β-lactam antibiotic resistance, while no other drug exporters confer any β-lactam resistance even when they cooperate with TolC.