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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Nov;57(11):5565-71. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01198-13. Epub 2013 Aug 26.

High-level pacidamycin resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is mediated by an opp oligopeptide permease encoded by the opp-fabI operon.

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Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.


Pacidamycins (or uridyl peptide antibiotics) possess selective in vivo activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa. An important limitation for the therapeutic use of pacidamycins with P. aeruginosa is the high frequency (10(-6) to 10(-7)) at which resistant mutants emerge. To elucidate the mechanism(s) of this resistance, pacidamycin-resistant P. aeruginosa mutants were isolated. Two types of mutants were obtained. Type 1, or high-level resistance mutants with a pacidamycin MIC of 512 μg/ml, were more abundant, with a frequency of~2 × 10(-6), and did not show cross-resistance with other antibiotics. Type 2, low-level resistance mutants, were isolated with a frequency of ~10(-8) and had a pacidamycin MIC of 64 μg/ml (the MIC for the wild-type strain was 4 to 16 μg/ml). These mutants were cross-resistant to levofloxacin, tetracycline, and erythromycin and were shown to overexpress either the MexAB-OprM or MexCD-OprJ multidrug resistance efflux pumps. High-level resistant mutants were isolated by transposon mutagenesis and one insertion was localized to oppB, one of two periplasmic binding protein components of an oligopeptide transport system which is encoded by the opp-fabI operon. The Opp system is required for uptake of pacidamycin across the inner membrane, since various opp, but not fabI, mutants were resistant to high levels of pacidamycin. Both of the two putative Opp periplasmic binding proteins, OppA and OppB, were required for pacidamycin uptake. Although both impaired uptake into and efflux from the cell can cause pacidamycin resistance in P. aeruginosa, our data suggest that impaired uptake is the primary reason for the high-frequency and high-level pacidamycin resistance.

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