Nature communications

In vitro transport activity of the fully assembled MexAB-OprM efflux pump from Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

PMID 25901994


Antibiotic resistance is a major public health issue and many bacteria responsible for human infections have now developed a variety of antibiotic resistance mechanisms. For instance, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a disease-causing Gram-negative bacteria, is now resistant to almost every class of antibiotics. Much of this resistance is attributable to multidrug efflux pumps, which are tripartite membrane protein complexes that span both membranes and actively expel antibiotics. Here we report an in vitro procedure to monitor transport by the tripartite MexAB-OprM pump. By combining proteoliposomes containing the MexAB and OprM portions of the complex, we are able to assay energy-dependent substrate translocation in a system that mimics the dual-membrane architecture of Gram-negative bacteria. This assay facilitates the study of pump transport dynamics and could be used to screen pump inhibitors with potential clinical use in restoring therapeutic activity of old antibiotics.