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FEMS microbiology letters

The Listeria monocytogenes transposon Tn6188 provides increased tolerance to various quaternary ammonium compounds and ethidium bromide.


PMID 25312720

Abstract

Tolerance of the foodborne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes to sublethal concentrations of disinfectants has been frequently reported. Particularly, quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs) such as benzalkonium chloride (BC) are often used in disinfectants and also as antiseptics in food industry and hospitals. Recently, we described Tn6188, a novel transposon in L. monocytogenes harbouring the transporter QacH, a molecular mechanism leading to increased tolerance to BC. In this study, we investigated the presence of Tn6188 within the genus Listeria spp. Our screening indicates that the distribution of Tn6188 may be limited to L. monocytogenes. We confirm that QacH is responsible for the observed increase in tolerance by complementation of a qacH deletion mutant and introducing qacH in a Tn6188 negative strain. We investigated the transporter's substrate spectrum by determining minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) and showed that QacH also confers higher tolerance towards other QACs and ethidium bromide (EtBr). This result was supported by increased expression of qacH in the presence of the various substrates as determined by quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR). In addition, we detected expression of a Tn6188 transposase gene and circular forms of Tn6188, suggesting activity and possible transfer of this transposon.

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