In situ structure and assembly of the multidrug efflux pump AcrAB-TolC.
ABSTRACT: 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:Tripartite efflux pumps found in Gram-negative bacteria are involved in antibiotic resistance and toxic-protein secretion. In this study, we show, using site-directed mutational analyses, that the conserved residues located in the tip region of the alpha-hairpin of the membrane fusion protein (MFP) AcrA play an essential role in the action of the tripartite efflux pump AcrAB-TolC. In addition, we provide in vivo functional data showing that both the length and the amino acid sequence of the alpha-hairpin of AcrA can be flexible for the formation of a functional AcrAB-TolC pump. Genetic-complementation experiments further indicated functional interrelationships between the AcrA hairpin tip region and the TolC aperture tip region. Our findings may offer a molecular basis for understanding the multidrug resistance of pathogenic bacteria.
Project description:Bacterial efflux pumps confer multidrug resistance by transporting diverse antibiotics from the cell. In Gram-negative bacteria, some of these pumps form multi-protein assemblies that span the cell envelope. Here, we report the near-atomic resolution cryoEM structures of the Escherichia coli AcrAB-TolC multidrug efflux pump in resting and drug transport states, revealing a quaternary structural switch that allosterically couples and synchronizes initial ligand binding with channel opening. Within the transport-activated state, the channel remains open even though the pump cycles through three distinct conformations. Collectively, our data provide a dynamic mechanism for the assembly and operation of the AcrAB-TolC pump.
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:We identified the genes encoding the AcrA-AcrB-TolC efflux pump in Enterobacter aerogenes and constructed acrAB and tolC mutants from a multidrug-resistant isolate. Both derivatives were more susceptible to antibiotics than the parental strain. Sequence analysis and complementation experiments revealed that the multidrug-resistant isolate is an acrR mutant.
Project description: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.
Project description:The capacity of numerous bacterial species to tolerate antibiotics and other toxic compounds arises in part from the activity of energy-dependent transporters. In Gram-negative bacteria, many of these transporters form multicomponent 'pumps' that span both inner and outer membranes and are driven energetically by a primary or secondary transporter component. A model system for such a pump is the acridine resistance complex of Escherichia coli. This pump assembly comprises the outer-membrane channel TolC, the secondary transporter AcrB located in the inner membrane, and the periplasmic AcrA, which bridges these two integral membrane proteins. The AcrAB-TolC efflux pump is able to transport vectorially a diverse array of compounds with little chemical similarity, thus conferring resistance to a broad spectrum of antibiotics. Homologous complexes are found in many Gram-negative species, including in animal and plant pathogens. Crystal structures are available for the individual components of the pump and have provided insights into substrate recognition, energy coupling and the transduction of conformational changes associated with the transport process. However, how the subunits are organized in the pump, their stoichiometry and the details of their interactions are not known. Here we present the pseudo-atomic structure of a complete multidrug efflux pump in complex with a modulatory protein partner from E. coli. The model defines the quaternary organization of the pump, identifies key domain interactions, and suggests a cooperative process for channel assembly and opening. These findings illuminate the basis for drug resistance in numerous pathogenic bacterial species.
Project description:Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to human welfare. Inhibitors of multidrug efflux pumps (EPIs) are promising alternative therapeutics that could revive activities of antibiotics and reduce bacterial virulence. Identification of new druggable sites for inhibition is critical for the development of effective EPIs, especially in light of constantly emerging resistance. Here, we describe EPIs that interact with periplasmic membrane fusion proteins, critical components of efflux pumps that are responsible for the activation of the transporter and the recruitment of the outer-membrane channel. The discovered EPIs bind to AcrA, a component of the prototypical AcrAB-TolC pump, change its structure in vivo, inhibit efflux of fluorescent probes, and potentiate the activities of antibiotics in Escherichia coli and other Gram-negative bacteria. Our findings expand the chemical and mechanistic diversity of EPIs, suggest the mechanism for regulation of the efflux pump assembly and activity, and provide a promising path for reviving the activities of antibiotics in resistant bacteria.
Project description:Escherichia coli AcrAB-TolC is a multidrug efflux pump that expels a wide range of toxic substrates. The dynamic nature of the binding or low affinity between the components has impeded elucidation of how the three components assemble in the functional state. Here, we created fusion proteins composed of AcrB, a transmembrane linker, and two copies of AcrA. The fusion protein exhibited acridine pumping activity, suggesting that the protein reflects the functional structure in vivo. To discern the assembling mode with TolC, the AcrBA fusion protein was incubated with TolC or a chimeric protein containing the TolC aperture tip region. Three-dimensional structures of the complex proteins were determined through transmission electron microscopy. The overall structure exemplifies the adaptor bridging model, wherein the funnel-like AcrA hexamer forms an intermeshing cogwheel interaction with the ?-barrel tip region of TolC, and a direct interaction between AcrB and TolC is not allowed. These observations provide a structural blueprint for understanding multidrug resistance in pathogenic Gram-negative bacteria.
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.