The era of antibiotics as a cure-all for bacterial infections appears to be coming to an end. The emergence of multidrug resistance in many hospital-associated pathogens has resulted in "superbugs" that are effectively untreatable. Multidrug efflux pumps are well known mediators of bacterial drug resistance. Genome sequencing efforts have highlighted an abundance of putative efflux pump genes in bacteria. However, it is not clear how many of these pumps play a role in antimicrobial resistance. Efflux pump genes that participate in drug resistance can be under tight regulatory control and expressed only in response to substrates. Consequently, changes in gene expression following antimicrobial shock may be used to identify efflux pumps that mediate antimicrobial resistance. Using this approach we have characterized several novel efflux pumps in bacteria. In one example we recently identified the Acinetobacter chlorhexidine efflux protein (AceI) efflux pump in Acinetobacter. AceI is a prototype for a novel family of multidrug efflux pumps conserved in many proteobacterial lineages. The discovery of this family raises the possibility that additional undiscovered intrinsic resistance proteins may be encoded in the core genomes of pathogenic bacteria.
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- multidrug efflux systems
- bacterial transmembrane pair
- adaptive resistance
- bacterial drug resistance