Involvement of the SmeAB multidrug efflux pump in resistance to plant antimicrobials and contribution to nodulation competitiveness in Sinorhizobium meliloti

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Abstract

The contributions of multicomponent-type multidrug efflux pumps to antimicrobial resistance and nodulation ability in Sinorhizobium meliloti were comprehensively analyzed. Computational searches identified genes in the S. meliloti strain 1021 genome encoding 1 pump from the ATP-binding cassette family, 3 pumps from the major facilitator superfamily, and 10 pumps from the resistance-nodulation-cell division family, and subsequently, these genes were deleted either individually or simultaneously. Antimicrobial susceptibility tests demonstrated that deletion of the smeAB pump genes resulted in increased susceptibility to a range of antibiotics, dyes, detergents, and plant-derived compounds and, further, that specific deletion of the smeCD or smeEF genes in a ΔsmeAB background caused a further increase in susceptibility to certain antibiotics. Competitive nodulation experiments revealed that the smeAB mutant was defective in competing with the wild-type strain for nodulation. The introduction of a plasmid carrying smeAB into the smeAB mutant restored antimicrobial resistance and nodulation competitiveness. These findings suggest that the SmeAB pump, which is a major multidrug efflux system of S. meliloti, plays an important role in nodulation competitiveness by mediating resistance toward antimicrobial compounds produced by the host plant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2855-2862
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume77
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 May

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