Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31443538
Microorganisms 2019 Aug;7(9)
Efflux pumps represent an important and large group of transporter proteins found in all organisms. The importance of efflux pumps resides in their ability to extrude a wide range of antibiotics, resulting in the emergence of multidrug resistance in many bacteria. Besides antibiotics, multidrug efflux pumps can also extrude a large variety of compounds: Bacterial metabolites, plant-produced compounds, quorum-sensing molecules, and virulence factors. This versatility makes efflux pumps relevant players in interactions not only with other bacteria, but also with plant or animal cells. The multidrug efflux pumps belonging to the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) are widely distributed in microbial genomes and exhibit a large spectrum of substrate specificities. Multidrug MFS efflux pumps are present either as single-component transporters or as tripartite complexes. In this review, we will summarize how the multidrug MFS efflux pumps contribute to the interplay between bacteria and targeted host cells, with emphasis on their role in bacterial virulence, in the colonization of plant and animal host cells and in biofilm formation. We will also address the complexity of these interactions in the light of the underlying regulatory networks required for the effective activation of efflux pump genes.