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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2005 Jan;49(1):118-25.

Interaction of the plasmid-encoded quinolone resistance protein Qnr with Escherichia coli DNA gyrase.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St., Boston, MA 02114-2696, USA.


Quinolone resistance normally arises by mutations in the chromosomal genes for type II topoisomerases and by changes in the expression of proteins that control the accumulation of quinolones inside bacteria. A novel mechanism of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance was recently reported that involves DNA gyrase protection by a pentapeptide repeat family member called Qnr. This family includes two other members, McbG and MfpA, that are also involved in resistance to gyrase inhibitors. Purified Qnr-His(6) was shown to protect Escherichia coli DNA gyrase directly from inhibition by ciprofloxacin. Here we have provided a biochemical basis for the mechanism of quinolone resistance. We have shown that Qnr can bind to the gyrase holoenzyme and its respective subunits, GyrA and GyrB. The binding of Qnr to gyrase does not require the presence of the complex of enzyme, DNA, and quinolone, since binding occurred in the absence of relaxed DNA, ciprofloxacin, or ATP. We hypothesize that the formation of Qnr-gyrase complex occurs before the formation of the cleavage complex. Furthermore, there was a decrease in DNA binding by gyrase when the enzyme interacted with Qnr. Therefore, it is possible that the reaction intermediate recognized by Qnr is one early in the gyrase catalytic cycle, in which gyrase has just begun to interact with DNA. Quinolones bind later in the catalytic cycle and stabilize a ternary complex consisting of the drug, gyrase, and DNA. By lowering gyrase binding to DNA, Qnr may reduce the amount of holoenzyme-DNA targets for quinolone inhibition.

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