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1.  Expression of homologous RND efflux pump genes is dependent upon AcrB expression: implications for efflux and virulence inhibitor design 
Enterobacteriaceae have multiple efflux pumps that confer intrinsic resistance to antibiotics. AcrB mediates clinically relevant multidrug resistance and is required for virulence and biofilm formation, making it an attractive target for the design of inhibitors. The aim of this study was to assess the viability of single transporters as a target for efflux inhibition using Salmonella Typhimurium as the model pathogen.
The expression of resistance–nodulation–division (RND) efflux pump genes in response to the inactivation of single or multiple homologues was measured using real-time RT–PCR. Phenotypes of mutants were characterized by measuring antimicrobial susceptibility, dye accumulation and the ability to cause infection in vitro.
The expression of all RND efflux pump genes was increased when single or multiple acr genes were inactivated, suggesting a feedback mechanism that activates the transcription of homologous efflux pump genes. When two or three acr genes were inactivated, the mutants had further reduced efflux, altered susceptibility to antimicrobials (including increased susceptibility to some, but conversely and counterintuitively, decreased susceptibility to some others) and were more attenuated in the tissue culture model than mutants lacking single pumps were.
These data indicate that it is critical to understand which pumps an inhibitor is active against and the effect of this on the expression of homologous systems. For some antimicrobials, an inhibitor with activity against multiple pumps will have a greater impact on susceptibility, but an unintended consequence of this may be decreased susceptibility to other drugs, such as aminoglycosides.
PMCID: PMC4291234  PMID: 25288678
redundancy; AcrB; AcrD; AcrF
2.  RamA, which controls expression of the MDR efflux pump AcrAB-TolC, is regulated by the Lon protease 
RamA regulates the AcrAB-TolC multidrug efflux system. Using Salmonella Typhimurium, we investigated the stability of RamA and its impact on antibiotic resistance.
To detect RamA, we introduced ramA::3XFLAG::aph into plasmid pACYC184 and transformed this into Salmonella Typhimurium SL1344ramA::cat and lon::aph mutants. An N-terminus-deleted mutant [pACYC184ramA(Δ2-21)::3XFLAG::aph] in which the first 20 amino acids of RamA were deleted was also constructed. To determine the abundance and half-life of FLAG-tagged RamA, we induced RamA with chlorpromazine (50 mg/L) and carried out western blotting using anti-FLAG antibody. Susceptibility to antibiotics and phenotypic characterization of the lon mutant was also carried out.
We show that on removal of chlorpromazine, a known inducer of ramA, the abundance of RamA decreased to pre-induced levels. However, in cells lacking functional Lon, we found that the RamA protein was not degraded. We also demonstrated that the 21 amino acid residues of the RamA N-terminus are required for recognition by the Lon protease. Antimicrobial susceptibility and phenotypic tests showed that the lon mutant was more susceptible to fluoroquinolone antibiotics, was filamentous when observed by microscopy and grew poorly, but showed no difference in motility or the ability to form a biofilm. There was also no difference in the ability of the lon mutant to invade human intestinal cells (INT-407).
In summary, we show that the ATP-dependent Lon protease plays an important role in regulating the expression of RamA and therefore multidrug resistance via AcrAB-TolC in Salmonella Typhimurium.
PMCID: PMC3922155  PMID: 24169580
Salmonella; transcription factors; proteolysis
3.  Clinically Relevant Mutant DNA Gyrase Alters Supercoiling, Changes the Transcriptome, and Confers Multidrug Resistance 
mBio  2013;4(4):e00273-13.
Bacterial DNA is maintained in a supercoiled state controlled by the action of topoisomerases. Alterations in supercoiling affect fundamental cellular processes, including transcription. Here, we show that substitution at position 87 of GyrA of Salmonella influences sensitivity to antibiotics, including nonquinolone drugs, alters global supercoiling, and results in an altered transcriptome with increased expression of stress response pathways. Decreased susceptibility to multiple antibiotics seen with a GyrA Asp87Gly mutant was not a result of increased efflux activity or reduced reactive-oxygen production. These data show that a frequently observed and clinically relevant substitution within GyrA results in altered expression of numerous genes, including those important in bacterial survival of stress, suggesting that GyrA mutants may have a selective advantage under specific conditions. Our findings help contextualize the high rate of quinolone resistance in pathogenic strains of bacteria and may partly explain why such mutant strains are evolutionarily successful.
Fluoroquinolones are a powerful group of antibiotics that target bacterial enzymes involved in helping bacteria maintain the conformation of their chromosome. Mutations in the target enzymes allow bacteria to become resistant to these antibiotics, and fluoroquinolone resistance is common. We show here that these mutations also provide protection against a broad range of other antimicrobials by triggering a defensive stress response in the cell. This work suggests that fluoroquinolone resistance mutations may be beneficial under a range of conditions.
PMCID: PMC3735185  PMID: 23882012
4.  Regulation of RamA by RamR in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium: Isolation of a RamR Superrepressor 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2012;56(11):6037-6040.
RamA is a transcription factor involved in regulating multidrug resistance in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1344. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter fusions were exploited to investigate the regulation of RamA expression by RamR. We show that RamR represses the ramA promoter by binding to a palindromic sequence and describe a superrepressor RamR mutant that binds to the ramA promoter sequence more efficiently, thus exhibiting a ramA inactivated phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3486581  PMID: 22948865
5.  The TCA cycle is not required for selection or survival of multidrug-resistant Salmonella 
The initial aim of this study was to use a systems biology approach to analyse a ciprofloxacin-selected multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium, L664.
The whole genome sequence and transcriptome of L664 were analysed. Site-directed mutagenesis to recreate each mutation was carried out, followed by phenotypic characterization and mutation frequency analysis. As a mutation in the TCA cycle was detected we tested the controversial hypothesis regarding the bacterial response to bactericidal antibiotics, put forward by Kohanski et al. (Cell 2007; 130: 797–810 and Mol Cell 2010; 37: 311–20), that exposure of bacteria to agents such as ciprofloxacin produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), which transiently increase the mutation rate giving rise to MDR bacteria.
L664 contained a mutation in ramR that conferred MDR. A mutation in tctA affected the TCA cycle and conferred the inability to grow on minimal agar. The virulence of L664 was not attenuated. Ciprofloxacin exposure produced ROS in L664 and SL1344 (tctA::aph), but it was reduced and occurred later. There were no significant differences in the rates of killing or mutations per generation to antibiotic resistance between the strains.
Whilst we confirm production of ROS in response to ciprofloxacin, we have no data to support the hypothesis that this leads to selection of MDR strains. Our results indicate that the mutations in tctA and glgA were random as they did not pre-exist in the parental strain, and that the mutation in tctA did not provide a survival advantage or disadvantage in the presence of antibiotic.
PMCID: PMC4125622  PMID: 22186876
TctA; RamR; efflux pumps; genome sequences
6.  Exploiting the Role of TolC in Pathogenicity: Identification of a Bacteriophage for Eradication of Salmonella Serovars from Poultry ▿  
Using a screening procedure, three bacteriophages, ST27, ST29, and ST35, were identified with selective activity for Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (SL1344) but not SL1344 tolC::aph. Overproduction of TolC led to a lower efficiency of plating (EOP), further suggesting that TolC was the target receptor. Activity against other serovars of Salmonella was observed but not against other species of Enterobacteriaceae. This study provides proof of principle that bacteriophages can be active against the outer membrane protein of tripartite resistance-nodulation-division (RND) efflux pumps and so could be used to reduce the numbers of Salmonella cells in animals reared for food production.
PMCID: PMC2832399  PMID: 20080996
7.  Ciprofloxacin-Resistant Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Strains Are Difficult To Select in the Absence of AcrB and TolC 
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.
PMCID: PMC1346778  PMID: 16377664
8.  Role of Topoisomerase Mutations and Efflux in Fluoroquinolone Resistance of Bacteroides fragilis Clinical Isolates and Laboratory Mutants 
Twelve laboratory mutants and 32 ciprofloxacin-resistant isolates of Bacteroides fragilis were examined for the mechanism(s) of fluoroquinolone resistance. Five mutants had mutations in gyrA. One mutant and two clinical isolates contained a mutation in gyrB. Eight mutants and five clinical isolates accumulated significantly less ciprofloxacin than did wild-type isolates; the mutants and clinical isolates were restored to wild-type characteristics when carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone was used.
PMCID: PMC375253  PMID: 15047539
9.  Expression of acrB, acrF, acrD, marA, and soxS in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium: Role in Multiple Antibiotic Resistance 
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.
PMCID: PMC375282  PMID: 15047514
10.  Characterization of Fluoroquinolone Resistance among Veterinary Isolates of Avian Escherichia coli 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2000;44(10):2897-2899.
Fluoroquinolone-resistant avian Escherichia coli isolates from northern Georgia were investigated for gyrA and parC mutations. All isolates contained a mutation in GyrA replacing Ser83 with Leu; seven isolates also contained mutations replacing Asp87 with either Gly or Tyr. Random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis revealed that quinolone-resistant E. coli isolates were genetically diverse.
PMCID: PMC90175  PMID: 10991884
11.  Accumulation of Norfloxacin by Bacteroides fragilis 
The accumulation of norfloxacin by Bacteroides fragilis NCTC 9343 was determined by the modified fluorescence method. The time required to achieve a steady-state concentration (SSC) after allowing B. fragilis to accumulate norfloxacin in an aerobic or an anaerobic environment was ∼2 min; the SSC achieved in air was 90.28 ± 9.32 ng of norfloxacin/mg (dry weight) of cells, and that achieved anaerobically was 98.45 ± 3.7 ng of norfloxacin/mg (dry weight) of cells. Initial rates of accumulation were determined with a range of external concentrations, as up to 8 μg/ml the concentration of norfloxacin accumulated increased proportionally to the external concentration, 12.13 ng/mg (dry weight) of cells per μg of exogenous norfloxacin per ml. At concentrations above 10 μg/ml no increase in the rate of norfloxacin accumulation was observed. From the kinetic data, a Lineweaver-Burk plot calculated a Km of 5.03 μg/ml and a Vmax of 25.1 ng of norfloxacin/s. With an increase in temperature of between 0 and 30°C, the concentration of norfloxacin accumulated also increased proportionally at 4.722 ng of norfloxacin/mg (dry weight) of cells/°C. At low concentrations of glucose (<0.2%; 11 mM), the concentration of norfloxacin accumulated was decreased. With the addition of 100 μM carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP) the mean SSC of norfloxacin was increased to 116 ± 7.01 ng of norfloxacin/mg (dry weight) of cells; glucose had no significant effect in the presence of CCCP. Magnesium chloride (20 mM) decreased the SSC of norfloxacin to 40.5 ± 3.76 ng of norfloxacin per mg (dry weight) of cells. These data suggest that the mechanism of accumulation of norfloxacin by B. fragilis is similar to that of aerobic bacteria and that the fluoresence procedure is suitable for use with an anaerobic bacterium.
PMCID: PMC90070  PMID: 10952580

Results 1-11 (11)