MpeR Regulates the mtr Efflux Locus in Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Modulates Antimicrobial Resistance by an Iron-Responsive Mechanism

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (Impact Factor: 4.45). 01/2012; 56(3):1491-501. DOI: 10.1128/AAC.06112-11
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Previous studies have shown that the MpeR transcriptional regulator produced by Neisseria gonorrhoeae represses the expression of mtrF, which encodes a putative inner membrane protein (MtrF). MtrF works as an accessory protein with the Mtr efflux pump, helping gonococci to resist high levels of diverse hydrophobic antimicrobials. Regulation of mpeR has been reported to occur by an iron-dependent mechanism involving Fur (ferric uptake regulator). Collectively, these observations suggest the presence of an interconnected regulatory system in gonococci that modulates the expression of efflux pump protein-encoding genes in an iron-responsive manner. Herein, we describe this connection and report that levels of gonococcal resistance to a substrate of the mtrCDE-encoded efflux pump can be modulated by MpeR and the availability of free iron. Using microarray analysis, we found that the mtrR gene, which encodes a direct repressor (MtrR) of mtrCDE, is an MpeR-repressed determinant in the late logarithmic phase of growth when free iron levels would be reduced due to bacterial consumption. This repression was enhanced under conditions of iron limitation and resulted in increased expression of the mtrCDE efflux pump operon. Furthermore, as judged by DNA-binding analysis, MpeR-mediated repression of mtrR was direct. Collectively, our results indicate that both genetic and physiologic parameters (e.g., iron availability) can influence the expression of the mtr efflux system and modulate levels of gonococcal susceptibility to efflux pump substrates.

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Available from: William M Shafer, Mar 31, 2014
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    • "Additionally, transcription of mtrCDE may be induced in the presence of sub-lethal concentrations of nonionic, membrane-acting detergents through the action of an AraC/XylS family transcriptional activator, MtrA (Rouquette et al., 1999). Expression of mtrF is negatively regulated by both MtrR and the AraC family regulator MpeR (Folster and Shafer, 2005), as well as the availability of free iron (Mercante et al., 2012). "
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