MexEF-OprN efflux pump exports the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) precursor HHQ (4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline).

Abstract : Bacterial cells have evolved the capacity to communicate between each other via small diffusible chemical signals termed autoinducers. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen involved, among others, in cystic fibrosis complications. Virulence of P. aeruginosa relies on its ability to produce a number of autoinducers, including 4-hydroxy-2-alkylquinolines (HAQ). In a cell density-dependent manner, accumulated signals induce the expression of multiple targets, especially virulence factors. This phenomenon, called quorum sensing, promotes bacterial capacity to cause disease. Furthermore, P. aeruginosa possesses many multidrug efflux pumps conferring adaptive resistance to antibiotics. Activity of some of these efflux pumps also influences quorum sensing. The present study demonstrates that the MexEF-OprN efflux pump modulates quorum sensing through secretion of a signalling molecule belonging to the HAQ family. Moreover, activation of MexEF-OprN reduces virulence factor expression and swarming motility. Since MexEF-OprN can be activated in infected hosts even in the absence of antibiotic selective pressure, it could promote establishment of chronic infections in the lungs of people suffering from cystic fibrosis, thus diminishing the immune response to virulence factors. Therapeutic drugs that affect multidrug efflux pumps and HAQ-mediated quorum sensing would be valuable tools to shut down bacterial virulence.
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Martin G Lamarche, Eric Déziel. MexEF-OprN efflux pump exports the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) precursor HHQ (4-hydroxy-2-heptylquinoline).. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2011, 6 (9), pp.e24310. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0024310⟩. ⟨pasteur-00722218⟩

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