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Microb Drug Resist. 2007 Summer;13(2):96-101.

BmeRABC5 is a multidrug efflux system that can confer metronidazole resistance in Bacteroides fragilis.

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Greater Los Angeles Veterans Administration Healthcare Systems, Los Angeles, CA 90073, USA.


The RND-family efflux pump gene bmeB5 was previously shown to be overexpressed in metronidazole-resistant laboratory mutants of Bacteroides fragilis. In the present study, we characterized the bmeABC5 genes and an upstream putative TetR-family regulator gene (bmeR5). bmeR5 (645 bp) was located 51 bp upstream of bmeA5 and encoded a 24.9-kDa protein. Deletant strains lacking bmeB5 or bmeR5 were constructed from a wild-type B. fragilis strain ADB77. Strain antimicrobial susceptibility was determined and gene expression was quantified. bmeR5 was overexpressed in Escherichia coli using a 6x-His tag system; BmeR5-His6 was isolated from inclusion bodies and its binding to bmeABC5 promoter regions was determined. BmeR5-His6 bound specifically to the bmeR5-bmeC5 intergenic region (IT1). Deletion of bmeR5 (ADB77DeltabmeR5) resulted in a significant (p < 0.05) increase in expression of bmeA5, bmeB5, and bmeC5, and > two-fold increase in minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of ampicillin, cefoxitin, cefoperazone, ciprofloxacin, imipenem, metronidazole, ethidium bromide, and sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS). MICs were reduced by the efflux pump inhibitor carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone (CCCP). The MICs of ampicillin, cefoperazone, metronidazole, and SDS were reduced by approximately two-fold in ADB77DeltabmeB5. A multidrug (metronidazole)-resistant, nim-negative B. fragilis clinical isolate overexpressed bmeABC5 genes, had a G-->T point mutation in IT1, and significantly reduced binding to BmeR5-His6. These data demonstrate that BmeR5 is a local repressor of bmeABC5 expression and that mutations in IT1 can lead to a derepression and resistance to multiple antimicrobial agents, including metronidazole.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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