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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2001 May;45(5):1528-34.

Resistance and adaptation to quinidine in Saccharomyces cerevisiae: role of QDR1 (YIL120w), encoding a plasma membrane transporter of the major facilitator superfamily required for multidrug resistance.

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  • 1Centro de Engenharia Biológia e Química, Instituto Superior Técnico, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal.


As predicted based on structural considerations, we show results indicating that the member of the major facilitator superfamily encoded by Saccharomyces cerevisiae open reading frame YIL120w is a multidrug resistance determinant. Yil120wp was implicated in yeast resistance to ketoconazole and quinidine, but not to the stereoisomer quinine; the gene was thus named QDR1. Qdr1p was proved to alleviate the deleterious effects of quinidine, revealed by the loss of cell viability following sudden exposure of the unadapted yeast population to the drug, and to allow the earlier eventual resumption of exponential growth under quinidine stress. However, QDR1 gene expression had no detectable effect on the susceptibility of yeast cells previously adapted to quinidine. Fluorescence microscopy observation of the distribution of the Qdr1-green fluorescent protein fusion protein in living yeast cells indicated that Qdr1p is a plasma membrane protein. We also show experimental evidence indicating that yeast adaptation to growth with quinidine involves the induction of active expulsion of the drug from preloaded cells, despite the fact that this antiarrhythmic and antimalarial quinoline ring-containing drug is not present in the yeast natural environment. However, we were not able to prove that Qdr1p is directly implicated in this export. Results clearly suggest that there are other unidentified quinidine resistance mechanisms that can be used in the absence of QDR1.

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