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Multi-Drug Resistance in Salmonella enterica: Efflux Mechanisms and Their Relationships with the Development of Chromosomal Resistance Gene Clusters

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Bacterial drug resistance represents one of the most crucial problems in present day antibacterial chemotherapy. Of particular concern to public health is the continuing worldwide epidemic spread of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium phage type DT104 harbouring a genomic island called Salmonella genomic island I (SGI-1). This island contains an antibiotic gene cluster conferring resistance to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, florfenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides and tetracyclines. These resistance genes are assembled in a mosaic pattern, indicative of several independent recombinational events. The mobility of SGI-1 coupled with the ability of various antibiotic resistance genes to be integrated and lost from the chromosomal resistance locus allows for the transfer of stable antibiotic resistance to most of the commonly used antibiotics and adaptation to new antibiotic challenges. This, coupled with the incidence of increasing fluoroquinolone resistance in these strains increases the risk of therapeutic failure in cases of life-threatening salmonellosis. Fluoroquinolone resistance has largely been attributed to mutations occurring in the genes coding for intracellular targets of these drugs. However, efflux by the AcrAB-TolC multi-drug efflux pump has recently been shown to directly contribute to fluoroquinolone resistance. Furthermore, the resistance to chloramphenicol-florfenicol and tetracyclines in DT104 isolates, is due to interaction between specific transporters for these antibiotics encoded by genes mapping to the SGI-1 and the AcrAB-TolC tripartite efflux pump. The potential for the use of efflux pump inhibitors to restore therapeutic efficacy to fluoroquinolones and other antibiotics offers an exciting developmental area for drug discovery.

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Keywords: AcrAB-TolC efflux pump; SGI-1 clusters; Salmonella enterica; antimicrobial resistance; class 1 integron

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Food Safety, School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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