Multidrug resistance pumps in bacteria: variations on a theme

Trends Biochem Sci. 1994 Mar;19(3):119-23. doi: 10.1016/0968-0004(94)90204-6.


Multidrug resistance pumps (MDRs) arise from three different gene families and are widespread in bacteria. For example, in Escherichia coli alone, there seem to be seven distinct MDRs. The most common belong to the major facilitator family of membrane translocases; this type of MDR is closely related to specific antibiotic extrusion pumps such as the tetracycline/H+ antiporter. This similarity in design, and the high incidence of apparently independent evolution of MDRs, suggests that the property of multidrug resistance might have resulted from a loss of specificity in a specific hydrophobic-drug efflux pump.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena*
  • Biological Transport, Active / genetics
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / physiology*