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Dogma DDT 343

A hallmark of biofilms is their tolerance to killing by antimicrobial agents. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa , biofilm drug tolerance requires the c-di-GMP-responsive MerR transcriptional regulator BrlR. However, the mechanism by which BrlR mediates biofilm drug tolerance has not been elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that BrlR activates the expression of at least 7 ABC transport systems, including the PA1874-PA1875-PA1876-PA1877 (PA1874-77) operon, with chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNA binding assays confirming BrlR binding to the promoter region of PA1874-77. Insertional inactivation of the 7 ABC transport systems rendered P. aeruginosa PAO1 biofilms susceptible to tobramycin or norfloxacin. Susceptibility was linked to drug accumulation, with BrlR contributing to norfloxacin accumulation in a manner dependent on multidrug efflux pumps and the PA1874-77 ABC transport system. Inactivation of the respective ABC transport system, furthermore, eliminated the recalcitrance of biofilms to killing by tobramycin but not norfloxacin, indicating that drug accumulation is not linked to biofilm drug tolerance. Our findings indicate for the first time that BrlR, a MerR-type transcriptional activator, activates genes encoding several ABC transport systems, in addition to multiple multidrug efflux pump genes. Moreover, our data confirm a BrlR target contributing to drug tolerance, likely countering the prevailing dogma that biofilm tolerance arises from a multiplicity of factors. Copyright 2018 American Society for Microbiology.

dogma DDT 343

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