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Can J Microbiol. 1999 Jan;45(1):18-22.

Organic solvent-tolerant mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa display multiple antibiotic resistance.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada.


Organic solvent-tolerant mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa selected in the presence of hexane exhibited increased resistance to a variety of structurally unrelated antimicrobial agents, including beta-lactams, fluoroquinolones, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and novobiocin, a phenotype typical of nalB multidrug-resistant mutants. Western immunoblotting with antibodies specific to components of the three known multidrug efflux systems in P. aeruginosa demonstrated that the solvent-tolerant mutants displayed increased expression of the MexAB-OprM system and decreased expression of the MexEF-OprN system. Sequence analysis of mexR, the repressor gene of mexAB-oprM efflux operon, identified a nonsense mutation and a point mutation in the mexR genes of two solvent-tolerant mutants. These results emphasize the importance of the MexAB-OprM efflux system in organic solvent tolerance and the ability of environmental pollutants to select bacteria with a medically relevant antibiotic-resistant phenotype.

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