Regulation of the AcrAB multidrug efflux pump in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in response to indole and paraquat

Microbiology (Reading). 2011 Mar;157(Pt 3):648-655. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.045757-0. Epub 2010 Dec 9.


Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium has at least nine multidrug efflux pumps. Among these, AcrAB is constitutively expressed and is the most efficient, playing a role in both drug resistance and virulence. The acrAB locus is induced by indole, Escherichia coli-conditioned medium, and bile salts. This induction is dependent on RamA through the binding sequence in the upstream region of acrA that binds RamA. In the present study, we made a detailed investigation of the ramA and acrAB induction mechanisms in Salmonella in response to indole, a biological oxidant for bacteria. We found that acrAB and ramA induction in response to indole is dependent on RamR. However, the cysteine residues of RamR do not play a role in the induction of ramA in response to indole, and the oxidative effect of indole is therefore not related to ramA induction via RamR. Furthermore, we showed that paraquat, a superoxide generator, induces acrAB but not ramA. We further discovered that the mechanism of acrAB induction in response to paraquat is dependent on SoxS. The data indicate that there are at least two independent induction pathways for acrAB in response to extracellular signals such as indole and paraquat. We propose that Salmonella utilizes these regulators for acrAB induction in response to extracellular signals in order to adapt itself to environmental conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / drug effects*
  • Indoles / metabolism
  • Indoles / pharmacology*
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Paraquat / pharmacology*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / drug effects*
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics
  • Salmonella typhimurium / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Indoles
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • RamA protein, Salmonella typhimurium
  • SoxS protein, Salmonella enterica
  • Trans-Activators
  • indole
  • Paraquat