Role of MexA-MexB-OprM efflux pump system in chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa pulmonary infection in mice

J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2012 Aug;32(4):546-551. doi: 10.1007/s11596-012-0094-7. Epub 2012 Aug 11.


In order to investigate the role of the MexA-MexB-OprM efflux pump system in the pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA)-induced pulmonary infection, pulmonary infection models were established by intratracheal injection of K767 (wild type), nalB (MexA-MexB-OprM up-regulated mutant), and ΔmexB (knockout) strains, separately. All mice were treated with Meropenem (intraper Δ itoneal injection, 100 mg/kg body weight, twice every day), and strain-related pathology, bacteria count, cytokine level, myeloperoxidase (MPO, indicator of neutrophil recruitment) activity, and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) expression were evaluated at early (3rd day post-infection) and late (7th and 14th day post-infection) stages of infection. E-test showed that ΔmexB was more significantly Δ sensitive to panipenan (ETP), meropenem (MP) and imipenem (IP) than K767 and nalB strains. There was no significant difference in sensitivity to cefepime (TM) among the three stains. In contrast to the K767 and nalB groups, the ΔmexB group showed decreased bacteria burden over time and less exte Δ nsive pathological change. Additionally, MPO activity and levels of inflammatory cytokines (IL-1b, IL-12, and TNF-α) were increased at the early stage (day 3) and decreased at the later stage (day 14). Serum MIP-2 expression level was steadily increased in all three groups from early to late stages, but significantly higher in ΔmexB group than in K767 and nalB groups ( Δ P<0.05). In conclusion, the MexA-MexB-OprM efflux pump system might play an important role in PA-induced chronic pulmonary infection. High expression of the MexA-MexB-OprM efflux pump could increase antibacterial resistance and promote infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lung / microbiology*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pseudomonas Infections / metabolism*
  • Pseudomonas Infections / microbiology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • MexA protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • MexB protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • OprM protein, Pseudomonas aeruginosa