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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10362/4813

Title: The role of the efflux mechanisms in multidrug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Authors: Rodrigues, Liliana
Advisor: Viveiros, Miguel
Keywords: pc
pc201
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: Abstract The emergence of multi and extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB and XDRTB) has increased the concern of public health authorities around the world. The World Health Organization has defined MDRTB as tuberculosis (TB) caused by organisms resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, the main first-line drugs used in TB therapy, whereas XDRTB refers to TB resistant not only to isoniazid and rifampicin, but also to a fluoroquinolone and to at least one of the three injectable second-line drugs, kanamycin, amikacin and capreomycin. Resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is mainly due to the occurrence of spontaneous mutations and followed by selection of mutants by subsequent treatment. However, some resistant clinical isolates do not present mutations in any genes associated with resistance to a given antibiotic, which suggests that other mechanism(s) are involved in the development of drug resistance, namely the presence of efflux pump systems that extrude the drug to the exterior of the cell, preventing access to its target. Increased efflux activity can occur in response to prolonged exposure to subinhibitory concentrations of anti-TB drugs, a situation that may result from inadequate TB therapy. The inhibition of efflux activity with a non-antibiotic inhibitor may restore activity of an antibiotic subject to efflux and thus provide a way to enhance the activity of current anti-TB drugs. The work described in this thesis foccus on the study of efflux mechanisms in the development of multidrug resistance in M. tuberculosis and how phenotypic resistance, mediated by efflux pumps, correlates with genetic resistance. In order to accomplish this goal, several experimental protocols were developed using biological models such as Escherichia coli, the fast growing mycobacteria Mycobacterium smegmatis, and Mycobacterium avium, before their application to M. tuberculosis. This approach allowed the study of the mechanisms that result in the physiological adaptation of E. coli to subinhibitory concentrations of tetracycline (Chapter II), the development of a fluorometric method that allows the detection and quantification of efflux of ethidium bromide (Chapter III), the characterization of the ethidium bromide transport in M. smegmatis (Chapter IV) and the contribution of efflux activity to macrolide resistance in Mycobacterium avium complex (Chapter V). Finally, the methods developed allowed the study of the role of efflux pumps in M. tuberculosis strains induced to isoniazid resistance (Chapter VI). By this manner, in Chapter II it was possible to observe that the physiological adaptation of E. coli to tetracycline results from an interplay between events at the genetic level and protein folding that decrease permeability of the cell envelope and increase efflux pump activity. Furthermore, Chapter III describes the development of a semi-automated fluorometric method that allowed the correlation of this efflux activity with the transport kinetics of ethidium bromide (a known efflux pump substrate) in E. coli and the identification of efflux inhibitors. Concerning M. smegmatis, we have compared the wild-type M. smegmatis mc2155 with knockout mutants for LfrA and MspA for their ability to transport ethidium bromide. The results presented in Chapter IV showed that MspA, the major porin in M. smegmatis, plays an important role in the entrance of ethidium bromide and antibiotics into the cell and that efflux via the LfrA pump is involved in low-level resistance to these compounds in M. smegmatis. Chapter V describes the study of the contribution of efflux pumps to macrolide resistance in clinical M. avium complex isolates. It was demonstrated that resistance to clarithromycin was significantly reduced in the presence of efflux inhibitors such as thioridazine, chlorpromazine and verapamil. These same inhibitors decreased efflux of ethidium bromide and increased the retention of [14C]-erythromycin in these isolates. Finaly, the methods developed with the experimental models mentioned above allowed the study of the role of efflux pumps on M. tuberculosis strains induced to isoniazid resistance. This is described in Chapter VI of this Thesis, where it is demonstrated that induced resistance to isoniazid does not involve mutations in any of the genes known to be associated with isoniazid resistance, but an efflux system that is sensitive to efflux inhibitors. These inhibitors decreased the efflux of ethidium bromide and also reduced the minimum inhibitory concentration of isoniazid in these strains. Moreover, expression analysis showed overexpression of genes that code for efflux pumps in the induced strains relatively to the non-induced parental strains. In conclusion, the work described in this thesis demonstrates that efflux pumps play an important role in the development of drug resistance, namely in mycobacteria. A strategy to overcome efflux-mediated resistance may consist on the use of compounds that inhibit efflux activity, restoring the activity of antimicrobials that are efflux pump substrates, a useful approach particularly in TB where the most effective treatment regimens are becoming uneffective due to the increase of MDRTB/XDRTB.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10362/4813
Appears in Collections:IHMT: MM - Teses de Doutoramento

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