skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on January 1, 2022

Title: Extreme Acid Modulates Fitness Tradeoffs of Multidrug Efflux Pumps MdtEF-TolC and AcrAB-TolC in Escherichia coli K-12
Bacterial genomes encode various multidrug efflux pumps (MDR) whose specific conditions for fitness advantage are unknown. We show that the efflux pump MdtEF-TolC, in Escherichia coli, confers a fitness advantage during exposure to extreme acid (pH 2). Our flow cytometry method revealed pH-dependent fitness tradeoffs between bile acids (a major pump substrate) and salicylic acid, a membrane-permeant aromatic acid that induces a drug-resistance regulon but depletes proton motive force (PMF). The PMF drives MdtEF-TolC and related pumps such as AcrAB-TolC. Deletion of mdtE (with loss of pump MdtEF-TolC) increased the strain’s relative fitness during growth with or without salicylate or bile acids. However, when the growth cycle included a 2-h incubation at pH 2 (below the pH growth range), MdtEF-TolC conferred a fitness advantage. The fitness advantage required bile salts but was decreased by the presence of salicylate, whose uptake is amplified by acid. For comparison, AcrAB-TolC, the primary efflux pump for bile acids, conferred a PMF-dependent fitness advantage with or without acid exposure in the growth cycle. A different MDR pump, EmrAB-TolC, confered no selective benefit during growth in the presence of bile acids. Without bile acids, all three MDR pumps incurred a large fitness cost with salicylate when more » exposed at pH 2. These results are consistent with the increased uptake of salicylate at low pH. Overall, we showed that MdtEF-TolC is an MDR pump adapted for transient extreme-acid exposure; and that low pH amplifies the salicylate-dependent fitness cost for drug pumps. IMPORTANCE Antibiotics and other drugs that reach the gut must pass through stomach acid. Yet little is known of how extreme acid modulates the effect of drugs on gut bacteria. We find that extreme-acid exposure leads to a fitness advantage for a multidrug pump that otherwise incurs a fitness cost. At the same time, extreme acid amplifies the effect of salicylate selection against multidrug pumps. Thus, organic acids and stomach acid could play important roles in regulating multidrug resistance in the gut microbiome. Our flow cytometry assay provides a way to measure the fitness effects of extreme-acid exposure to various membrane-soluble organic acids including plant-derived nutrients and pharmaceutical agents. Therapeutic acids might be devised to control the prevalence of multidrug pumps in environmental and host-associated habitats. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1923077 1725426
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10279646
Journal Name:
Applied and environmental microbiology
ISSN:
1098-5336
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. EmrE is anEscherichia colimultidrug efflux pump and member of the small multidrug resistance (SMR) family that transports drugs as a homodimer by harnessing energy from the proton motive force. SMR family transporters contain a conserved glutamate residue in transmembrane 1 (Glu14 in EmrE) that is required for binding protons and drugs. Yet the mechanism underlying proton-coupled transport by the two glutamate residues in the dimer remains unresolved. Here, we used NMR spectroscopy to determine acid dissociation constants (pKa) for wild-type EmrE and heterodimers containing one or two Glu14 residues in the dimer. For wild-type EmrE, we measured chemical shifts ofmore »the carboxyl side chain of Glu14 using solid-state NMR in lipid bilayers and obtained unambiguous evidence on the existence of asymmetric protonation states. Subsequent measurements of pKavalues for heterodimers with a single Glu14 residue showed no significant differences from heterodimers with two Glu14 residues, supporting a model where the two Glu14 residues have independent pKavalues and are not electrostatically coupled. These insights support a transport pathway with well-defined protonation states in each monomer of the dimer, including a preferred cytoplasmic-facing state where Glu14 is deprotonated in monomer A and protonated in monomer B under pH conditions in the cytoplasm ofE. coli. Our findings also lead to a model, hop-free exchange, which proposes how exchangers with conformation-dependent pKavalues reduce proton leakage. This model is relevant to the SMR family and transporters comprised of inverted repeat domains.

    « less
  2. The biological membrane is an efficient barrier against water-soluble substances. Solute transporters circumvent this membrane barrier by transporting water-soluble solutes across the membrane to the other sides. These transport proteins are thus required for all living organisms. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, effectively exploit solute transporters to acquire useful nutrients for growth or to expel substances that are inhibitory to their growth. Overall, there are distinct types of related solute transporters that are grouped into families or superfamilies. Of these various transporters, the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) represents a very large and constantly growing group and are driven by solute- andmore »ion-gradients, making them passive and secondary active transporters, respectively. Members of the major facilitator superfamily transport an extreme variety of structurally different substrates such as antimicrobial agents, amino acids, sugars, intermediary metabolites, ions, and other small molecules. Importantly, bacteria, especially pathogenic ones, have evolved multidrug efflux pumps which belong to the major facilitator superfamily. Furthermore, members of this important superfamily share similar primary sequences in the form of highly conserved sequence motifs that confer useful functional properties during transport. The transporters of the superfamily also share similarities in secondary structures, such as possessing 12- or 14-membrane spanning α-helices and the more recently described 3-helix structure repeat element, known as the MFS fold. The three-dimensional structures of bacterial multidrug efflux pumps have been determined for only a few members of the superfamily, all drug pumps of which are surprisingly from Escherichia coli. This review briefly summarizes the structural properties of the bacterial multidrug efflux pumps of the major facilitator superfamily in a comparative manner and provides future directions for study.« less
  3. Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) cause sporadic and epidemic outbreaks of gastroenteritis in all age groups worldwide. We previously reported that stem cell-derived human intestinal enteroid (HIE) cultures support replication of multiple HuNoV strains and that some strains (e.g., GII.3) replicate only in the presence of bile. Heat- and trypsin-treatment of bile did not reduce GII.3 replication, indicating a nonproteinaceous component in bile functions as an active factor. Here we show that bile acids (BAs) are critical for GII.3 replication and replication correlates with BA hydrophobicity. Using the highly effective BA, glycochenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA), we show BAs act during the early stagemore »of infection, BA-dependent replication in HIEs is not mediated by detergent effects or classic farnesoid X receptor or Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 signaling but involves another G protein-coupled receptor, sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 2, and BA treatment of HIEs increases particle uptake. We also demonstrate that GCDCA induces multiple cellular responses that promote GII.3 replication in HIEs, including enhancement of 1) endosomal uptake, 2) endosomal acidification and subsequent activity of endosomal/lysosomal enzyme acid sphingomyelinase (ASM), and 3) ceramide levels on the apical membrane. Inhibitors of endosomal acidification or ASM reduce GII.3 infection and exogenous addition of ceramide alone permits infection. Furthermore, inhibition of lysosomal exocytosis of ASM, which is required for ceramide production at the apical surface, decreases GII.3 infection. Together, our results support a model where GII.3 exploits rapid BA-mediated cellular endolysosomal dynamic changes and cellular ceramide to enter and replicate in jejunal HIEs.

    « less
  4. ABSTRACT All living organisms must recognize and respond to various environmental stresses throughout their lifetime. In natural environments, cells frequently encounter fluctuating concentrations of different stressors that can occur in combination or sequentially. Thus, the ability to anticipate an impending stress is likely ecologically relevant. One possible mechanism for anticipating future stress is acquired stress resistance, where cells preexposed to a mild sublethal dose of stress gain the ability to survive an otherwise lethal dose of stress. We have been leveraging wild strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae to investigate natural variation in the yeast ethanol stress response and its role inmore »acquired stress resistance. Here, we report that a wild vineyard isolate possesses ethanol-induced cross protection against severe concentrations of salt. Because this phenotype correlates with ethanol-dependent induction of the ENA genes, which encode sodium efflux pumps already associated with salt resistance, we hypothesized that variation in ENA expression was responsible for differences in acquired salt tolerance across strains. Surprisingly, we found that the ENA genes were completely dispensable for ethanol-induced survival of high salt concentrations in the wild vineyard strain. Instead, the ENA genes were necessary for the ability to resume growth on high concentrations of salt following a mild ethanol pretreatment. Surprisingly, this growth acclimation phenotype was also shared by the lab yeast strain despite lack of ENA induction under this condition. This study underscores that cross protection can affect both viability and growth through distinct mechanisms, both of which likely confer fitness effects that are ecologically relevant. IMPORTANCE Microbes in nature frequently experience “boom or bust” cycles of environmental stress. Thus, microbes that can anticipate the onset of stress would have an advantage. One way that microbes anticipate future stress is through acquired stress resistance, where cells exposed to a mild dose of one stress gain the ability to survive an otherwise lethal dose of a subsequent stress. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae , certain stressors can cross protect against high salt concentrations, though the mechanisms governing this acquired stress resistance are not well understood. In this study, we took advantage of wild yeast strains to understand the mechanism underlying ethanol-induced cross protection against high salt concentrations. We found that mild ethanol stress allows cells to resume growth on high salt, which involves a novel role for a well-studied salt transporter. Overall, this discovery highlights how leveraging natural variation can provide new insights into well-studied stress defense mechanisms.« less
  5. The RND family efflux pump AcrAB-TolC in E. coli and its homologs in other Gram-negative bacteria are major players in conferring multidrug resistance to the cells. While the structure of the pump complex has been elucidated with ever-increasing resolution through crystallography and Cryo-EM efforts, the dynamic assembly process remains poorly understood. Here, we tested the effect of overexpressing functionally defective pump components in wild type E. coli cells to probe the pump assembly process. Incorporation of a defective component is expected to reduce the efflux efficiency of the complex, leading to the so called “dominant negative” effect. Being one ofmore »the most intensively studied bacterial multidrug efflux pumps, many AcrA and AcrB mutations have been reported that disrupt efflux through different mechanisms. We examined five groups of AcrB and AcrA mutants, defective in different aspects of assembly and substrate efflux. We found that none of them demonstrated the expected dominant negative effect, even when expressed at concentrations many folds higher than their genomic counterpart. The assembly of the AcrAB-TolC complex appears to have a proof-read mechanism that effectively eliminated the formation of futile pump complex.« less