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Elkins, CA, Mullis, LB, Lacher, DW and Jung, CM (2010) Single nucleotide polymorphism analysis of the major tripartite multidrug efflux pump of Escherichia coli: functional conservation in disparate animal reservoirs despite exposure to antimicrobial chemotherapy. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 54:1007-15


AcrAB-TolC imparts a strong intrinsic resistance phenotype to many clinically significant molecules in Escherichia coli. This complex is composed of a pump, AcrB, and a periplasmic protein, AcrA, that exports substrates through a common outer membrane porin, TolC. A sequence survey of the pump-specific components, acrA and acrB, was conducted on three discrete animal reservoirs: rodents, bovines, and catfish. Although two of the reservoirs (bovine and catfish) were agrarian, and antibiotic use (ceftiofur and oxytetracycline/Romet 30, respectively) was reported for them, the vast majority of structural polymorphisms were silent except for T104A (AcrA) and Q733R (AcrB), found in certain bovine-derived strains. Overall, the genes were well conserved, with high ratios of synonymous to nonsynonymous substitutions (d(S)/d(N) ratios), consistent with or, in the case of acrB, better than those of standard multilocus sequence typing (MLST) loci. Furthermore, predicted recombination points from single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) patterns in acrB support a modular evolution of transporter proteins, consistent with an ancient origin. However, functional studies with clones representing the major silent SNPs and the nonsilent mutation in acrB failed to generate significant differences in resistance to a range of common efflux pump substrates. Interestingly, a comparison between log-phase acrA and acrB expression profiles yielded inconsistent trends, with acrB expression increasing modestly (<1.8-fold) in many strains from the antibiotic-enriched pools. Our results suggest that structural polymorphisms in this major efflux pump system may not contribute significantly to adaptive resistance by altering function or substrate specificity but may have a potential use in improving phylogenetic relationships and/or source tracking.


PubMed PMC2826003 Online version:10.1128/AAC.01126-09


Animals; Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology; Catfishes; Cattle; Disease Reservoirs/microbiology; Escherichia coli/drug effects; Escherichia coli/genetics; Escherichia coli/isolation & purification; Escherichia coli Proteins/genetics; Escherichia coli Proteins/metabolism; Feces/microbiology; Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial; Intestines/microbiology; Mice; Microbial Sensitivity Tests; Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins/genetics; Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins/metabolism; Mutation; Phylogeny; Polymerase Chain Reaction; Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics; Rats; Recombination, Genetic; Sequence Analysis, DNA; Structure-Activity Relationship


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