Changes to Its Peptidoglycan-Remodeling Enzyme Repertoire Modulate β-Lactam Resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Academic Article uri icon

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  • ABSTRACTPseudomonas aeruginosais a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections and is resistant to many antibiotics. Among its primary mechanisms of resistance is expression of a chromosomally encoded AmpC β-lactamase that inactivates β-lactams. The mechanisms leading to AmpC expression inP. aeruginosaremain incompletely understood but are intricately linked to cell wall metabolism. To better understand the roles of peptidoglycan-active enzymes in AmpC expression—and consequent β-lactam resistance—a phenotypic screen ofP. aeruginosamutants lacking such enzymes was performed. Mutants lacking one of four lytic transglycosylases (LTs) or the nonessential penicillin-binding protein PBP4 (dacB) had altered β-lactam resistance.mltFandsltmutants with reduced β-lactam resistance were designated WIMPs (wall-impaired mutant phenotypes), while highly resistantdacB,sltB1, andmltBmutants were designated HARMs (high-level AmpC resistant mutants). Double mutants lackingdacBandsltB1had extreme piperacillin resistance (>256 μg/ml) compared to either of the single knockouts (64 μg/ml for adacBmutant and 12 μg/ml for ansltB1mutant). Inactivation ofampCreverted these mutants to wild-type susceptibility, confirming that AmpC expression underlies resistance.dacBmutants had constitutively elevated AmpC expression, but the LT mutants had wild-type levels of AmpC in the absence of antibiotic exposure. These data suggest that there are at least two different pathways leading to AmpC expression inP. aeruginosaand that their simultaneous activation leads to extreme β-lactam resistance.


  • Cavallari, Joseph F
  • Lamers, Ryan P
  • Scheurwater, Edie M
  • Matos, Andrea L
  • Burrows, Lori

publication date

  • July 2013