Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

The BpeAB-OprB efflux pump of Burkholderia pseudomallei 1026b does not play a role in quorum sensing, virulence factor production, or extrusion of aminoglycosides but is a broad-spectrum drug efflux system.

PMID 20498323


Most Burkholderia pseudomallei strains are intrinsically aminoglycoside resistant, mainly due to AmrAB-OprA-mediated efflux. Rare naturally occurring or genetically engineered mutants lacking this pump are aminoglycoside susceptible despite the fact that they also encode and express BpeAB-OprB, which was reported to mediate efflux of aminoglycosides in the Singapore strain KHW. To reassess the role of BpeAB-OprB in B. pseudomallei aminoglycoside resistance, we used mutants overexpressing or lacking this pump in either AmrAB-OprA-proficient or -deficient strain 1026b backgrounds. Our data show that BpeAB-OprB does not mediate efflux of aminoglycosides but is a multidrug efflux system which extrudes macrolides, fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, acriflavine, and, to a lesser extent, chloramphenicol. Phylogenetically, BpeAB-OprB is closely related to Pseudomonas aeruginosa MexAB-OprM, which has a similar substrate spectrum. AmrAB-OprA is most closely related to MexXY, the only P. aeruginosa efflux pump known to extrude aminoglycosides. Since BpeAB-OprB in strain KHW was also implicated in playing a major role in export of acylated homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum-sensing molecules and in expression of diverse virulence factors, we explored whether this was also true in the strain 1026b background. The results showed that BpeAB-OprB was not required for AHL export, and mutants lacking this efflux system exhibited normal swimming motility and siderophore production, which were severely impaired in KHW bpeAB-oprB mutants. Biofilm formation was impaired in 1026b Delta(amrRAB-oprA) and Delta(amrRAB-oprA) Delta(bpeAB-oprB) mutants. At present, we do not know why our BpeAB-OprB susceptibility and virulence factor expression results with 1026b and its derivatives are different from those previously published for Singapore strain KHW.