Virulence and drug resistance roles of multidrug efflux systems of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.
Drug efflux systems play a major role in resistance to a wide range of noxious compounds in several Gram negative species. Here, we report the drug resistance and virulence phenotypes of Salmonella mutants defective in either resistance-nodulation-division (RND)-type systems and/or in drug efflux systems belonging to the major facilitator (MFS), multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE), and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamilies. We determined that nine potential drug transporters contribute to drug resistance of Salmonella and found that the Salmonella-specific MdsABC system conferred resistance to a variety of toxic compounds. The RND-type MdsAB system could function with either MdsC, which is encoded in the same operon, or TolC as the outer membrane component. Although the Salmonella EmrAB, MdfA and MdtK are 90% identical in their amino acid sequences to their Escherichia coli homologues, the drug specificity of Salmonella transporters was different from that reported for equivalent E. coli transporters. Deletion of the macAB genes attenuated Salmonella virulence and a strain lacking all drug efflux systems was avirulent when mice were inoculated by the oral route. The promoter region of the macAB drug efflux system genes harbours a binding site for the response regulator PhoP, which functions to repress macAB transcription. The PhoP/PhoQ two-component system is a major regulator of Salmonella virulence, which underscores the connection between drug efflux systems and virulence.