CmeABC multidrug efflux pump contributes to antibiotic resistance and promotes 'Campylobacter jejuni' survival and multiplication in 'Acanthamoeba polyphaga'
Campylobacter jejuni is a foodborne pathogen recognized as the leading cause of human bacterial gastroenteritis. The wide use of antibiotics in medicine and in animal husbandry has led to an increased incidence of antibiotic resistance in Campylobacter In addition to a role in multidrug resistance, the Campylobacter CmeABC RND-type efflux pump, which is associated with multidrug resistance (MDR), may also be involved in virulence. As a vehicle of pathogenic microorganisms, the protozoan Acanthamoeba is a good model for the investigation of bacterial survival in the environment and molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity. The interaction between C. jejuni 81-176 and A. polyphaga was investigated in this study by using a modified gentamicin protection assay. In addition, a possible role for the CmeABC MDR pump in this interaction was explored. Here we report that this MDR pump is beneficial for the intracellular survival and multiplication of C. jejuni in A. polyphaga, but is dispensable for biofilm formation and motility.Importance The endosymbiotic relationship between amoebae and microbial pathogens may contribute to persistence and spreading of the latter in the environment, which has significant implications to human health. In this study we found that Campylobacter jejuni was able to survive and multiply inside Acanthamoeba. polyphaga Since these microorganisms can co-exist in the same environment (e.g. in poultry farms), the latter may increase the risk of infection with Campylobacter Our data suggests that, in addition to its role in antibiotic resistance, the CmeABC MDR efflux pump also plays a role in bacterial survival within amoebae. Furthermore, we demonstrated a synergistic effect of the CmeABC MDR efflux pump and TetO on bacterial resistance to tetracycline. Due to its role both in antibiotic resistance and virulence of C. jejuni, the CmeABC MDR efflux pump could be considered as a good target for the development of antibacterial drugs against this pathogen