Objectives: To study the role of TolC and of parC mutation in high-level fluoroquinolone resistance in clonal clinical strains of Salmonella enterica serotype Typhimurium phage type DT204 (S. Typhimurium DT204).
Methods: Deletion of the tolC gene (DeltatolC) was first performed in a susceptible S. Typhimurium DT104 strain lacking target gene mutations involved in fluoroquinolone resistance. P22 transduction was further used to transduce DeltatolC from this strain to a high-level fluoroquinolone-resistant S. Typhimurium DT204 strain carrying several target gene mutations, including one in parC (ciprofloxacin MIC of 32 mg/L).
Results: Deletion of tolC in the high-level fluoroquinolone-resistant S. Typhimurium DT204 strain resulted in the same decrease in resistance levels (16- to 32-fold) as shown previously for an acrB mutant of the same strain, suggesting that AcrAB-TolC is the main efflux system involved in high-level fluoroquinolone resistance of S. Typhimurium DT204 strains. In some S. Typhimurium DT204 DeltatolC transductants, concomitant loss of the parC (Ser-80-->Ile) mutation, located approximately 9.3 kb upstream of tolC, resulted in a further 16- to 32-fold decrease in resistance levels to fluoroquinolones and thus a hypersusceptible phenotype (ciprofloxacin MIC of 0.063 mg/L).
Conclusion: The AcrAB-TolC efflux system, together with multiple target gene mutations, including the parC mutation, appear essential to confer high-level fluoroquinolone resistance in S. Typhimurium DT204.