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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2001 Oct;4(5):500-8.

Multidrug resistance in Gram-negative bacteria.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6, Canada.


Broadly specific, so-called multidrug, efflux mechanisms are now known to contribute significantly to intrinsic and acquired multidrug resistance in a number of Gram-negative bacteria, and the boom in bacterial genomics has confirmed the distribution of these systems in all bacteria. This broad distribution of multidrug transporters lends a certain credibility to suggestions that they play a housekeeping role in the cell, beyond any contributions they may make to antimicrobial efflux and resistance. In many instances, these transporters are dispensable, arguing against their carrying out essential cellular functions; nevertheless, the multiplicity of these broadly specific export systems within a given microorganism, often with overlapping substrate specificity, may explain the dispensability of individual exporters. Whatever their intended function, however, their conservation in so many organisms highlights their probable general importance in antimicrobial resistance, particularly in Gram-negative bacteria whose outer membranes work synergistically with many of these export systems to promote drug exclusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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