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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2002 Jan 22;207(1):91-5.

Increased expression of the multidrug efflux genes acrAB occurs during slow growth of Escherichia coli.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston PR1 2HE, UK.


Intrinsic antimicrobial resistance of Escherichia coli is elicited by the gene products of the multidrug efflux acrAB-tolC operon. In this paper, we have shown that acrAB is regulated as a function of the growth rate of E. coli during growth in batch and chemostat culture. In chemostat culture, expression of acrAB is inversely related to growth rate irrespective of the limiting nutrient. The level of expression of acrAB is greater under glucose limitation compared with either iron or nitrogen limitation. Increase in expression of acrAB confers a greater resistance to ciprofloxacin, and the implications for a clinical situation are discussed. Slow growth rate regulation of acrAB transcription does not require the presence of the stationary-phase sigma factor. A putative gearbox consensus sequence was identified at the -10 region of the acrAB promoter.

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