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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1998 Sep 15;166(2):305-9.

Overexpression of marA, soxS, or acrAB produces resistance to triclosan in laboratory and clinical strains of Escherichia coli.

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Center for Adaptation Genetics and Drug Resistance, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Triclosan (Irgasan) is a broad spectrum antimicrobial agent used in handsoaps, toothpastes, fabrics, and plastics. It inhibits lipid biosynthesis in Escherichia coli, probably by action upon enoyl reductase (FabI) (McMurry, L.M., Oethinger, M. and Levy, S.B. (1988) Nature 394, 531-532). We report here that overexpression of the multidrug efflux pump locus acrAB, or of marA or soxS, both encoding positive regulators of acrAB, decreased susceptibility to triclosan 2-fold. Deletion of the acrAB locus increased the susceptibility to triclosan approximately 10-fold. Four of five clinical E. coli strains which overexpressed marA or soxS also showed enhanced triclosan resistance. The acrAB locus was involved in the effects of triclosan upon both cell growth rate and cell lysis.

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