Salicylate Functions as an Efflux Pump Inducer and Promotes the Emergence of Fluoroquinolone-Resistant Campylobacter jejuni Mutants
Salicylate, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory compound, has been shown to increase the resistance of Campylobacter to antimicrobials. However, the molecular mechanism underlying salicylate-induced resistance has not yet been established. In this study, we determined how salicylate increases antibiotic resistance and evaluated its impact on the development of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter mutants. Transcriptional fusion assays, real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), and immunoblotting assays consistently demonstrated the induction of the CmeABC multidrug efflux pump by salicylate. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays further showed that salicylate inhibits the binding of CmeR (a transcriptional repressor of the TetR family) to the promoter DNA of cmeABC, suggesting that salicylate inhibits the function of CmeR. The presence of salicylate in the culture medium not only decreased the susceptibility of Campylobacter to ciprofloxacin but also resulted in an approximately 70-fold increase in the observed frequency of emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants under selection with ciprofloxacin. Together, these results indicate that in Campylobacter, salicylate inhibits the binding of CmeR to the promoter DNA and induces expression of cmeABC, resulting in decreased susceptibility to antibiotics and in increased emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants under selection pressure.
This article is published as Shen, Zhangqi, Xiao-Ying Pu, and Qijing Zhang. "Salicylate functions as an efflux pump inducer and promotes the emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter jejuni mutants." Applied and environmental microbiology 77, no. 20 (2011): 7128-7133. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00763-11. Posted with permission.