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Pentachlorophenol Induction of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa mexAB-oprM Efflux Operon: Involvement of Repressors NalC and MexR and the Antirepressor ArmR

By Lisa M. Starr, Michael Fruci and Keith Poole


Pentachlorophenol (PCP) induced expression of the NalC repressor-regulated PA3720-armR operon and the MexR repressor-controlled mexAB-oprM multidrug efflux operon of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. PCP's induction of PA3720-armR resulted from its direct modulation of NalC, the repressor's binding to PA3720-armR promoter-containing DNA as seen in electromobility shift assays (EMSAs) being obviated in the presence of this agent. The NalC binding site was localized to an inverted repeat (IR) sequence upstream of PA3720-armR and overlapping a promoter region whose transcription start site was mapped. While modulation of MexR by the ArmR anti-repressor explains the upregulation of mexAB-oprM in nalC mutants hyperexpressing PA3720-armR, the induction of mexAB-oprM expression by PCP is not wholly explainable by PCP induction of PA3720-armR and subsequent ArmR modulation of MexR, inasmuch as armR deletion mutants still showed PCP-inducible mexAB-oprM expression. PCP failed, however, to induce mexAB-oprM in a mexR deletion strain, indicating that MexR was required for this, although PCP did not modulate MexR binding to mexAB-oprM promoter-containing DNA in vitro. One possibility is that MexR responds to PCP-generated in vivo effector molecules in controlling mexAB-oprM expression in response to PCP. PCP is an unlikely effector and substrate for NalC and MexAB-OprM - its impact on NalC binding to the PA3720-armR promoter DNA occurred only at high µM levels - suggesting that it mimics an intended phenolic effector/substrate(s). In this regard, plants are an abundant source of phenolic antimicrobial compounds and, so, MexAB-OprM may function to protect P. aeruginosa from plant antimicrobials that it encounters in nature

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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