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FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan;30(1):36-52.

Role of mycobacterial efflux transporters in drug resistance: an unresolved question.

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Dipartimento di Genetica e Microbiologia, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


Two mechanisms are thought to be involved in the natural drug resistance of mycobacteria: the mycobacterial cell wall permeability barrier and active multidrug efflux pumps. Genes encoding drug efflux transporters have been isolated from several mycobacterial species. These proteins transport tetracycline, fluoroquinolones, aminoglycosides and other compounds. Recent reports have suggested that efflux pumps may also be involved in transporting isoniazid, one of the main drugs used to treat tuberculosis. This review highlights recent advances in our understanding of efflux-mediated drug resistance in mycobacteria, including the distribution of efflux systems in these organisms, their substrate profiles and their contribution to drug resistance. The balance between the drug transport into the cell and drug efflux is not yet clearly understood, and further studies are required in mycobacteria.

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