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Enhancement of antibiotic susceptibility of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia using a polyclonal antibody developed against an ABC multidrug efflux pump

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Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is an emerging nosocomial pathogen capable of causing healthcare-associated infections, including pneumonia and bacteremia. Intrinsic resistance in S. maltophilia is exhibited towards many broad-spectrum antibiotics, and treatment recommendations are controversial. One of the major causes of antimicrobial resistance is attributed to a robust array of efflux pumps that extrude drug compounds from the cell. Using checkerboard and growth kinetic assays, we evaluated the in vitro activity of a polyclonal antibody raised against an ATP-binding cassette efflux protein in S. maltophilia. Six clinical strains of S. maltophilia and one type strain were challenged with co-trimoxazole, ticarcillin–clavulanate, and ciprofloxacin, alone and in combination with antibody. One clinical strain was tested by growth curve experiments for each antibiotic–antibody combination. The use of antibody resulted in significantly increased susceptibility in 71.4% (15/21) of treatments tested, with 33.3% displaying synergy and 38.1% an additive effect. In growth kinetic studies, synergy was obtained for each antibiotic–antibody combination. Thus, the use of antibody raised against multidrug efflux pumps for the treatment of multidrug-resistant organisms warrants further investigation. Antibody targeting substrate recognition sites, or other functionally important epitopes, may lead to inhibition of multiple efflux pumps that share the same substrate and is an attractive area that should be explored.

Keywords: ABC transporter; Stenotrophomonas maltophilia; antibody-based therapy; multidrug resistance; multirésistance aux médicaments; thérapie par anticorps; transporteur ABC

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Medical Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Manchester, 2nd Floor Clinical Sciences Building, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.

Publication date: 2011-10-21

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  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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