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Modulation of Membrane Influx and Efflux in Escherichia coli Sequence Type 131 Has an Impact on Bacterial Motility, Biofilm Formation, and Virulence in a Caenorhabditis elegans Model

Abstract : Energy-dependent efflux overexpression and altered outer membrane permeability (influx) can promote multidrug resistance (MDR). The present study clarifies the regulatory pathways that control membrane permeability in the pandemic clone Esche-richia coli sequence type 131 (ST131) and evaluates the impact of efflux and influx modulations on biofilm formation, motility, and virulence in the Caenorhabditis elegans model. Mutants of two uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) strains, MECB5 (ST131; H30-Rx) and CFT073 (ST73), as well as a fecal strain, S250 (ST131; H22), were in vitro selected using continuous subculture in subin-hibitory concentrations of ertapenem (ETP), chloramphenicol (CMP), and cefoxitin (FOX). Mutations in genes known to control permeability were shown for the two UPEC strains: MECB5-FOX (deletion of 127 bp in marR; deletion of 1 bp and insertion of an IS1 element in acrR) and CFT073-CMP (a 1-bp deletion causing a premature stop in marR). We also demonstrated that efflux phenotypes in the mutants selected with CMP and FOX were related to the AcrAB-TolC pump, but also to other efflux systems. Alteration of membrane permeability, caused by underexpression of the two major porins, OmpF and OmpC, was shown in MECB5-ETP and mutants selected with FOX. Lastly, our findings suggest that efflux pump-overproducing isolates (CMP mutants) pose a serious threat in terms of virulence (significant reduction in worm median survival) and host colonization. Lack of porins (ETP and FOX mutants) led to a high level of antibiotic resistance in an H30-Rx subclone. Nevertheless, this adaptation created a physiological disadvantage (decreased motility and ability to form biofilm) associated with a low potential for virulence.
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Alix Pantel, Catherine Dunyach-Remy, Christelle Essebe, Jennifer Mesureur, Albert Sotto, et al.. Modulation of Membrane Influx and Efflux in Escherichia coli Sequence Type 131 Has an Impact on Bacterial Motility, Biofilm Formation, and Virulence in a Caenorhabditis elegans Model. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, American Society for Microbiology, 2016, 60 (5), pp.2901-2911. ⟨10.1128/AAC.02872-15⟩. ⟨hal-01462961⟩

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