Overexpression of a membrane transport system MSMEG_1381 and MSMEG_1382 confers multidrug resistance in Mycobacterium smegmatis

Microbial Pathogenesis   | October 12, 2023 | doi.org/10.1016/j.micpath.2023.106384

S. Salini, Balaji Muralikrishnan, Sinchana G. Bhat, Sudeep D. Ghate, R. Shyama Prasad Rao, R Ajay Kumar, Krishna Kurthkoti


Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a leading cause of human mortality worldwide, and the emergence of drug-resistant strains demands the discovery of new classes of antimycobacterial that can be employed in the therapeutic pipeline. Previously, a secondary metabolite, chrysomycin A, isolated from Streptomyces sp. OA161 displayed potent bactericidal activity against drug-resistant clinical isolates of M. tuberculosis and different species of mycobacteria. The antibiotic inhibits mycobacterial topoisomerase I and DNA gyrase, leading to bacterial death, but the mechanisms that could cause resistance to this antibiotic are currently unknown. To further understand the resistance mechanism, using M. smegmatis as a model, spontaneous resistance mutants were isolated and subjected to whole-genome sequencing. Mutation in a Tet R family transcriptional regulator MSMEG_1380 was identified in the resistant isolates wherein the gene was adjacent to an operon encoding membrane proteins MSMEG_1381 and MSMEG_1382. Sequence analysis and modeling studies indicated that MSMEG_1381 and MSMEG_1382 are components of the Mmp family of efflux pumps and over-expression of either the operon or individual genes conferred resistance to chrysomycin A, isoniazid, and ethambutol. Our study highlights the role of membrane transporter proteins in conferring multiple drug resistance and the utility of recombinant strains overexpressing membrane transporters in the drug screening pipeline.


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