Identification of a cell envelope protein (MtrF) involved in hydrophobic antimicrobial resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003 Jan;51(1):27-37. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkg031.


The mtrCDE-encoded efflux pump of Neisseria gonorrhoeae provides gonococci with a mechanism to resist structurally diverse antimicrobial hydrophobic agents (HAs). Strains of N. gonorrhoeae that display hypersusceptibility to HAs often contain mutations in the efflux pump genes, mtrCDE. Such strains frequently contain a phenotypically suppressed mutation in mtrR, a gene that encodes a repressor (MtrR) of mtrCDE gene expression, and one that would normally result in HA resistance. We have recently examined HA-hypersusceptible clinical isolates of gonococci that contain such phenotypically suppressed mtrR mutations, in order to determine whether genes other than mtrCDE are involved in HA resistance. These studies led to the discovery of a gene that we have designated mtrF, located downstream of the mtrR gene, that is predicted to encode a 56.1 kDa cytoplasmic membrane protein containing 12 transmembrane domains. Expression of mtrF was enhanced in a strain deficient in MtrR production, indicating that this gene, together with the closely linked mtrCDE operon, is subject to MtrR-dependent transcriptional control. Orthologues of mtrF were identified in a number of diverse bacteria. Except for the AbgT protein of Escherichia coli, their products have been identified as hypothetical proteins with unknown function(s). Genetic evidence is presented that MtrF is important in the expression of high-level detergent resistance by gonococci. We propose that MtrF acts in conjunction with the MtrC-MtrD-MtrE efflux pump, to confer on gonococci high-level resistance to certain HAs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Ferredoxin-NADP Reductase*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / drug effects
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • mtrR protein, Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • methionine synthase reductase
  • Ferredoxin-NADP Reductase