Defects in Efflux ( oprM), β-Lactamase ( ampC), and Lipopolysaccharide Transport ( lptE) Genes Mediate Antibiotic Hypersusceptibility of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Strain Z61

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2019 Jun 24;63(7):e00784-19. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00784-19. Print 2019 Jul.


Antibiotic hypersensitive bacterial mutants (e.g., Escherichia coli imp) are used to investigate intrinsic resistance and are exploited in antibacterial discovery to track weak antibacterial activity of novel inhibitor compounds. Pseudomonas aeruginosa Z61 is one such drug-hypersusceptible strain generated by chemical mutagenesis, although the genetic basis for hypersusceptibility is not fully understood. Genome sequencing of Z61 revealed nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 153 genes relative to its parent strain, and three candidate mutations (in oprM, ampC, and lptE) predicted to mediate hypersusceptibility were characterized. The contribution of these mutations was confirmed by genomic restoration of the wild-type sequences, individually or in combination, in the Z61 background. Introduction of the lptE mutation or genetic inactivation of oprM and ampC genes alone or together in the parent strain recapitulated drug sensitivities. This showed that disruption of oprM (which encodes a major outer membrane efflux pump channel) increased susceptibility to pump substrate antibiotics, that inactivation of the inducible β-lactamase gene ampC contributed to β-lactam susceptibility, and that mutation of the lipopolysaccharide transporter gene lptE strongly altered the outer membrane permeability barrier, causing susceptibility to large antibiotics such as rifampin and also to β-lactams.

Keywords: Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Z61; ampC; hypersusceptible; lptE; oprM; outer membrane.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Biological Transport / genetics
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / genetics
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / genetics*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics*
  • beta-Lactams / pharmacology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • beta-Lactams
  • AmpC beta-lactamases
  • beta-Lactamases