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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2004 Oct;10(10):877-83.

Expression of the MexXY efflux pump in amikacin-resistant isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Division of Clinical Bacteriology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.


The MexZ-MexX-MexY multidrug efflux system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa was studied to determine its contribution to aminoglycoside resistance. Amikacin-resistant (AR) mutants were generated from P. aeruginosa strain PAO1, and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa were collected from cystic fibrosis patients. The regulatory gene mexZ and the intergenic region (mexOZ) between mexZ and mexX were investigated for mutation by PCR and DNA sequence analysis. The results showed that 14 of 15 AR clinical isolates and one of ten laboratory mutants had at least one mutation in mexZ and/or mexOZ. To study the effect of mexZ and mexOZ mutations, the production of MexY mRNA was investigated quantitatively by real-time PCR. Seven of ten AR mutants (MIC 4-8 mg/L) produced 8-21-fold more MexY mRNA than PAO1. These isolates were sensitive to fluoroquinolones, carbapenems and ceftazidime. One AR mutant (MIC 64 mg/L) that produced > 200-fold more MexY mRNA than PAO1 was also resistant to fluoroquinolones, carbapenems and ceftazidime. Thirteen of 15 AR clinical isolates produced 3.4-727-fold more MexY mRNA. No evidence was found for the aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes 6'-N-acetyltransferase type Ib, 4'-O-nucleotidyltransferase type IIb or aminoglycoside 3'-phosphotransferase IIps in these strains. Nine AR mutants overproduced MexY without mutations in mexZ or mexOZ, suggesting that MexXY efflux is also regulated by gene(s) other than mexZ.

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