Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 23261969
Link to DOI – 10.1016/j.resmic.2012.12.003S0923-2508(12)00197-0
Res Microbiol 2013 Apr; 164(3): 226-35
Macrolides have wide clinical applications in the treatment of community-acquired respiratory tract infections, among which streptococci are the most frequent causative agents. An active efflux-based mechanism of macrolide resistance, referred to as the M phenotype in streptococcal isolates, has been associated with the presence of mef genes that encode a subset of major facilitator superfamily (MFS) transporters like Mef(E). An msr(D) gene, adjacent to and co-transcribed with mef in the presence of erythromycin, has also been implicated in drug efflux, but its role remains elusive. Msr(D) belongs to the ATP binding cassette (ABC) proteins and harbors two fused nucleotide-binding domains with no membrane-spanning domains. The present work indicates that the major resistance traits of the M phenotype in Escherichia coli may be due to Msr(D) and not to Mef(E). Fluorescence microscopy using Mef(E) tagged with GFP linked low efficacy of the chimera in conferring macrolide resistance with improper subcellular localization. The active role of Msr(D) in directing Mef(E)-GFP to the cell poles was demonstrated, as was synergistic effect in terms of levels of resistance when both proteins were expressed. A trans-dominant negative mutation within ABC Msr(D) affecting MFS Mef(E) strongly suggests that both proteins can interact in vivo, and such a physical interaction was supported in vitro. This is the first reported example of a functional interplay between an ABC component and an MFS transporter. The direct involvement of Msr(D) in the efflux of macrolides remains to be demonstrated.