The role of mex-gene products in antibiotic extrusion in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Hiroshi Yoneyama, Aydin Ocaktan, Masataka Tsuda, Taiji Nakae

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79 Citations (Scopus)


The antibiotic extrusion machinery in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is assembled from the mex-operon encoded proteins, OprM and MexA-MexB, connecting the outer and inner membranes. To envisage the role of these proteins in antibiotic extrusion and resistance, we employed the gene replacement technique to construct mutants deficient in mexA, mexB, or oprM, and all possible combinations of these genes. Using the Southern and the Western blotting methods, we confirmed that only the target genes were disrupted. All the mutants deficient in OprM exhibited a 4 to 16 times higher susceptibility against quinolone antibiotics, chloramphenicol, and gentamicin than the parent strain. The mutants deficient in MexA or MexB or both MexA and MexB were only 2 to 4 times more susceptible to these antibiotics than the parent strain. All the mutants lacking MexA, MexB, or OprM showed stereospecific hypersusceptibility 60 β-lactam antibiotics than the parent strain. However, the extent of susceptibility to each β-lactam was comparable among the mutants. Strains lacking OprM accumulated the highest level of ciprofloxacin among all these isogenic strains. The strains lacking either MexA or MexB accumulated lower levels of ciprofloxacin than the mutant lacking OprM, but the levels were still higher than in the parent strain. The results are consistent with the antibiotic susceptibility of these strains. These results suggest that the extrusion of antibiotics occurs most efficiently with a whole assembly of MexA/B-OprM, but it remains a possibility that OprM interacts with a putative inner membrane pump(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-618
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Apr 28


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