Physiological functions of bacterial "multidrug" efflux pumps

Peter J. F. Henderson*, Claire Maher, Liam D. H. Elbourne, Bart A. Eijkelkamp, Ian T. Paulsen, Karl A. Hassan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)
    5 Downloads (Pure)


    Bacterial multidrug efflux pumps have come to prominence in human and veterinary pathogenesis because they help bacteria protect themselves against the antimicrobials used to overcome their infections. However, it is increasingly realized that many, probably most, such pumps have physiological roles that are distinct from protection of bacteria against antimicrobials administered by humans. Here we undertake a broad survey of the proteins involved, allied to detailed examples of their evolution, energetics, structures, chemical recognition, and molecular mechanisms, together with the experimental strategies that enable rapid and economical progress in understanding their true physiological roles. Once these roles are established, the knowledge can be harnessed to design more effective drugs, improve existing microbial production of drugs for clinical practice and of feedstocks for commercial exploitation, and even develop more sustainable biological processes that avoid, for example, utilization of petroleum.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5417-5478
    Number of pages62
    JournalChemical Reviews
    Issue number9
    Early online date24 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


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