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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Feb;43(3):677-85.

Control of the AcrAB multidrug efflux pump by quorum-sensing regulator SdiA.

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Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030-3411, USA.


SdiA is an Escherichia coli protein that regulates cell division in a cell density-dependent, or quorum-sensing, manner. We report that SdiA also controls multidrug resistance by positively regulating the multidrug resistance pump AcrAB. Overproduction of SdiA confers multidrug resistance and increased levels of AcrAB. Conversely, sdiA null mutants are hypersensitive to drugs and have decreased levels of AcrB protein. Our findings provide a link between quorum sensing and multidrug efflux. Combined with previously published reports, our data support a model in which a role of drug efflux pumps is to mediate cell-cell communication in response to cell density. Xenobiotics expelled by pumps may resemble the communication molecules that they normally efflux.

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