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Microbiology. 2008 Feb;154(Pt 2):454-61. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.2007/012427-0.

The role of the Serratia marcescens SdeAB multidrug efflux pump and TolC homologue in fluoroquinolone resistance studied via gene-knockout mutagenesis.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Microbiology. 2009 Jun;155(Pt 6):2109-11.


Serratia marcescens is a prominent opportunistic nosocomial pathogen resistant to several classes of antibiotics. The major mechanism for fluoroquinolone resistance in various Gram-negative pathogens is active efflux. Our group previously identified SdeAB, a resistance-nodulation-cell division (RND) efflux pump complex, and a TolC-like outer-membrane protein (HasF), which together mediate energy-dependent fluoroquinolone efflux. In addition, a regulatory protein-encoding gene in the upstream region of sdeAB was identified (sdeR) and found to be 40 % homologous to MarA, an Escherichia coli transcriptional regulator. To provide conclusive evidence as to the role of these components in S. marcescens, sdeB, hasF and sdeR deletion mutants were constructed. Suicide vectors were created and introduced via triparental mating into S. marcescens UOC-67 (wild-type) and, for sdeB and hasF, T-861 (clinical isolate). We have analysed these genetically altered strains using minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays for a wide range of compounds (fluoroquinolones, SDS, novobiocin, ethidium bromide and chloramphenicol). Intracellular accumulation of a variety of fluoroquinolones was measured fluorospectroscopically. The sdeB, hasF and sdeR knockout strains were consistently more susceptible to antibiotics than the parent strains, with the sdeB/hasF double knockout strain showing the highest susceptibility. A marked increase in fluoroquinolone (ciprofloxacin) accumulation was observed for strains deficient in either the sdeB or hasF genes when compared to the parental strains, with the highest ciprofloxacin accumulation observed for the sdeB/hasF double knockout. Antibiotic accumulation assays for the sdeB knockout mutant strains performed in the presence of carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP), a proton-motive-force inhibitor, demonstrated that SdeAB-mediated efflux is proton-motive-force dependent. Due to the comparable susceptibility of the sdeB and the hasF individual knockouts, we conclude that S. marcescens HasF is the sole outer-membrane component of the SdeAB pump. In addition, MIC data for sdeR-deficient and overexpressing strains confirm that SdeR is an activator of sdeAB and acts to enhance the overall multidrug resistance of S. marcescens.

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