Antibiotic Inducibility of the mexXY Multidrug Efflux Operon of Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Involvement of the MexZ Anti-Repressor ArmZ

Hay, Thomas; Fraud, Sebastien; Lau, Calvin Ho-Fung; Gilmour, Christie; Poole, Keith
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Expression of the mexXY multidrug efflux operon in wild type Pseudomonas aeruginosa is substantially enhanced by the ribosome-targeting antimicrobial spectinomycin (18-fold) and this is wholly dependent upon the product of the PA5471 gene. In a mutant strain lacking the mexZ gene encoding a repressor of mexXY gene expression, expression of the efflux operon increases modestly (5-fold) and is still responsive (18-fold) to spectinomycin. Spectinomycin induction of mexXY expression in the mexZ mutant is, however, independent of PA5471 suggesting that PA5471 functions as an anti-repressor (dubbed ArmZ for anti-repressor MexZ) that serves only to modulate MexZ's repressor activity, with additional gene(s)/gene product(s) providing for the bulk of the antimicrobial-inducible mexXY expression. Consistent with PA5471/ArmZ functioning as a MexZ anti-repressor, an interaction between MexZ and ArmZ was confirmed using a bacterial 2-hybrid assay. Mutations compromising this interaction (P68S, G76S, R216C, R221W, R221Q, G231D and G252S) were identified and localized to one region of an ArmZ structural model that may represent a MexZ-interacting domain. Introduction of representative mutations into the chromosome of P. aeruginosa reduced (P68S, G76S) or obviated (R216C, R2211W) antimicrobial induction of mexXY gene expression, rendering the mutants pan-aminoglycoside-susceptible. These data confirm the importance of an ArmZ-MexZ interaction for antimicrobial-inducible mexXY expression and intrinsic aminoglycoside resistance in P. aeruginosa.


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