Antibiotic export by efflux pumps affects growth of neighboring bacteria.
ABSTRACT: Cell-cell interactions play an important role in bacterial antibiotic resistance. Here, we asked whether neighbor proximity is sufficient to generate single-cell variation in antibiotic resistance due to local differences in antibiotic concentrations. To test this, we focused on multidrug efflux pumps because recent studies have revealed that expression of pumps is heterogeneous across populations. Efflux pumps can export antibiotics, leading to elevated resistance relative to cells with low or no pump expression. In this study, we co-cultured cells with and without AcrAB-TolC pump expression and used single-cell time-lapse microscopy to quantify growth rate as a function of a cell's neighbors. In inhibitory concentrations of chloramphenicol, we found that cells lacking functional efflux pumps (?acrB) grow more slowly when they are surrounded by cells with AcrAB-TolC pumps than when surrounded by ?acrB cells. To help explain our experimental results, we developed an agent-based mathematical model, which demonstrates the impact of neighbors based on efflux efficiency. Our findings hold true for co-cultures of Escherichia coli with and without pump expression and also in co-cultures of E. coli and Salmonella typhumirium. These results show how drug export and local microenvironments play a key role in defining single-cell level antibiotic resistance.
Project description:Antibiotic resistance has become a major public health concern as bacteria evolve to evade drugs, leading to recurring infections and a decrease in antibiotic efficacy. Systematic efforts have revealed mechanisms involved in resistance. Yet, in many cases, how these specific mechanisms accelerate or slow the evolution of resistance remains unclear. Here, we conducted a systematic study of the impact of the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump on the evolution of antibiotic resistance. We mapped how population growth rate and resistance change over time as a function of both the antibiotic concentration and the parent strain's genetic background. We compared the wild-type strain to a strain overexpressing AcrAB-TolC pumps and a strain lacking functional pumps. In all cases, resistance emerged when cultures were treated with chloramphenicol concentrations near the MIC of their respective parent strain. The genetic background of the parent strain also influenced resistance acquisition. The wild-type strain evolved resistance within 24 h through mutations in the <i>acrAB</i> operon and its associated regulators. Meanwhile, the strain overexpressing AcrAB-TolC evolved resistance more slowly than the wild-type strain; this strain achieved resistance in part through point mutations in <i>acrB</i> and the <i>acrAB</i> promoter. Surprisingly, the strain without functional AcrAB-TolC efflux pumps still gained resistance, which it achieved through upregulation of redundant efflux pumps. Overall, our results suggest that treatment conditions just above the MIC pose the largest risk for the evolution of resistance and that AcrAB-TolC efflux pumps impact the pathway by which chloramphenicol resistance is achieved.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> Combatting the rise of antibiotic resistance is a significant challenge. Efflux pumps are an important contributor to drug resistance; they exist across many cell types and can export numerous classes of antibiotics. Cells can regulate pump expression to maintain low intracellular drug concentrations. Here, we explored how resistance emerged depending on the antibiotic concentration, as well as the presence of efflux pumps and their regulators. We found that treatments near antibiotic concentrations that inhibit the parent strain's growth were most likely to promote resistance. While wild-type, pump overexpression, and pump knockout strains were all able to evolve resistance, they differed in the absolute level of resistance evolved, the speed at which they achieved resistance, and the genetic pathways involved. These results indicate that specific treatment regimens may be especially problematic for the evolution of resistance and that the strain background can influence how resistance is achieved.
Project description:Multidrug efflux pumps actively expel a wide range of toxic substrates from the cell and play a major role in intrinsic and acquired drug resistance. In Gram-negative bacteria, these pumps form tripartite assemblies that span the cell envelope. However, the in situ structure and assembly mechanism of multidrug efflux pumps remain unknown. Here we report the in situ structure of the Escherichia coli AcrAB-TolC multidrug efflux pump obtained by electron cryo-tomography and subtomogram averaging. The fully assembled efflux pump is observed in a closed state under conditions of antibiotic challenge and in an open state in the presence of AcrB inhibitor. We also observe intermediate AcrAB complexes without TolC and discover that AcrA contacts the peptidoglycan layer of the periplasm. Our data point to a sequential assembly process in living bacteria, beginning with formation of the AcrAB subcomplex and suggest domains to target with efflux pump inhibitors.
Project description: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.
Project description:AcrAB-TolC is the paradigm resistance-nodulation-division (RND) multidrug resistance efflux system in Gram-negative bacteria, with AcrB being the pump protein in this complex. We constructed a nonfunctional AcrB mutant by replacing D408, a highly conserved residue essential for proton translocation. Western blotting confirmed that the AcrB D408A mutant had the same native level of expression of AcrB as the parental strain. The mutant had no growth deficiencies in rich or minimal medium. However, compared with wild-type SL1344, the mutant had increased accumulation of Hoechst 33342 dye and decreased efflux of ethidium bromide and was multidrug hypersusceptible. The D408A mutant was attenuated in vivo in mouse and Galleria mellonella models and showed significantly reduced invasion into intestinal epithelial cells and macrophages in vitro A dose-dependent inhibition of invasion was also observed when two different efflux pump inhibitors were added to the wild-type strain during infection of epithelial cells. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed downregulation of bacterial factors necessary for infection, including those in the Salmonella pathogenicity islands 1, 2, and 4; quorum sensing genes; and phoPQ Several general stress response genes were upregulated, probably due to retention of noxious molecules inside the bacterium. Unlike loss of AcrB protein, loss of efflux function did not induce overexpression of other RND efflux pumps. Our data suggest that gene deletion mutants are unsuitable for studying membrane transporters and, importantly, that inhibitors of AcrB efflux function will not induce expression of other RND pumps.IMPORTANCE Antibiotic resistance is a major public health concern. In Gram-negative bacteria, overexpression of the AcrAB-TolC multidrug efflux system confers resistance to clinically useful drugs. Here, we show that loss of AcrB efflux function causes loss of virulence in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. This is due to the reduction of bacterial factors necessary for infection, which is likely to be caused by the retention of noxious molecules inside the bacterium. We also show that, in contrast to loss of AcrB protein, loss of efflux does not induce overexpression of other efflux pumps from the same family. This indicates that there are differences between loss of efflux protein and loss of efflux that make gene deletion mutants unsuitable for studying the biological function of membrane transporters. Understanding the biological role of AcrB will help to assess the risks of targeting efflux pumps as a strategy to combat antibiotic resistance.
Project description:Multidrug efflux pumps mediate resistance to antibiotics and other toxic compounds. We studied the role of AcrAB-TolC, the main efflux pump in Escherichia coli, in regulating gene expression.Deletion mutants, an acrABp-lacZ fusion and reverse transcription-real-time quantitative PCR experiments were used to study the role of AcrAB-TolC and metabolism in regulating gene expression of the acrAB operon and its transcriptional regulators.Deletion of the acrB gene increased the expression of the acrAB operon. A similar induction of acrAB was found when acrA or tolC was deleted, and when the pump function was inhibited using phenylalanine-arginine-?-naphthylamide. The induction of acrAB in the ?acrB strain was totally (AcrR or SoxS) or partially (SoxR or MarA) prevented when the genes for these acrAB regulators were also deleted. The expression of soxS and marA, but not of acrR, was increased in the ?acrB strain, which also showed altered expression of many other genes related to different cellular processes, including motility. Deletion of the metabolic genes entA and entE (enterobactin biosysnthesis), glpX (gluconeogenesis), cysH (cysteine biosynthesis) and purA (purine biosynthesis) also prevented activation of the acrAB promoter in the ?acrB strain. Addition of the enterobactin biosynthesis intermediate metabolite 2,3-dihydroxybenzoate induced the expression of acrAB.These results together suggest a model in which the AcrAB-TolC pump effluxes cellular metabolites that are toxic and/or have a signalling role. If the pump is inactivated or inhibited, these metabolites would accumulate, inactivating AcrR and/or up-regulating soxS and marA expression, ultimately triggering the up-regulation of acrAB expression to restore homeostasis.
Project description: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 (EcDeltaacrA) 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.
Project description:The AcrAB-TolC multidrug efflux pump confers resistance to a wide variety of antibiotics and other compounds in Escherichia coli. Here we show that AcrZ (formerly named YbhT), a 49-amino-acid inner membrane protein, associates with the AcrAB-TolC complex. Co-purification of AcrZ with AcrB, in the absence of both AcrA and TolC, two-hybrid assays and suppressor mutations indicate that this interaction occurs through the inner membrane protein AcrB. The highly conserved acrZ gene is coregulated with acrAB through induction by the MarA, Rob, and SoxS transcription regulators. In addition, mutants lacking AcrZ are sensitive to many, but not all, of the antibiotics transported by AcrAB-TolC. This differential antibiotic sensitivity suggests that AcrZ may enhance the ability of the AcrAB-TolC pump to export certain classes of substrates.
Project description: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.
Project description:Bacteria use multidrug efflux pumps to export drugs and toxic compounds out of the cell. One of the most important efflux pumps in Escherichia coli is the AcrAB-TolC system. Small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) are known to be major posttranscriptional regulators that can enhance or repress translation by binding to the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of mRNA targets with the help of a chaperone protein, Hfq. In this study, we investigated the expression of acrA, acrB, and tolC translational fusions using 27 Hfq-dependent sRNAs overexpressed from plasmids. No significant sRNA regulation of acrA or acrB was detected. SdsR (also known as RyeB), an abundant and well-conserved stationary-phase sRNA, was found to repress the expression of tolC, the gene encoding the outer membrane protein of many multidrug resistance efflux pumps. This repression was shown to be by direct base pairing occurring upstream from the ribosomal binding site. SdsR overexpression and its regulation of tolC were found to reduce resistance to novobiocin and crystal violet. Our results suggest that additional targets for SdsR exist that contribute to increased antibiotic sensitivity and reduced biofilm formation. In an effort to identify phenotypes associated with single-copy SdsR and its regulation of tolC, the effect of a deletion of sdsR or mutations in tolC that should block SdsR pairing were investigated using a Biolog phenotypic microarray. However, no significant phenotypes were identified. Therefore, SdsR appears to modulate rather than act as a major regulator of its targets.AcrAB-TolC is a major efflux pump present in E. coli and Gram-negative bacteria used to export toxic compounds; the pump confers resistance to many antibiotics of unrelated classes. In this study, we found that SdsR, a small RNA expressed in stationary phase, repressed the expression of tolC, resulting in increased sensitivity to some antibiotics. This extends the findings of previous studies showing that sRNAs contribute to the regulation of many outer membrane proteins; manipulating or enhancing their action might help in sensitizing bacteria to antibiotics.
Project description:Multidrug efflux pumps of pathogenic, Gram-negative bacteria comprise an innate resistance mechanism and are key contributors to the emerging global pandemic of antibiotic resistance. Several increasingly detailed cryo-electron microscopy maps have been resolved of an entire efflux pump complex, AcrAB-TolC, resulting in atomistic structural models. Using a recent model, we have carried out nearly 40 ?s of molecular dynamics simulations to study one of the key components of the protein complex AcrA, the membrane fusion protein that connects the inner-membrane-bound AcrB to the outer-membrane-bound TolC. We determined a three-dimensional potential of mean force (PMF) for AcrA, which displays two main conformational basins representing assembly competent and incompetent states. Corresponding experiments show that stabilizing mutations at an interdomain interface shift the dynamic equilibrium between these states to the incompetent one, disrupting pump assembly and function and resensitizing bacteria to existing antibiotics. The modulation of AcrA dynamics through pharmacological intervention therefore presents a promising route for the development of new antibiotics.