Characterization of the amp genes involved in the regulation of β-lactamase expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Kok-Fai Kong, Florida International University


Antibiotic resistance, production of alginate and virulence factors, and altered host immune responses are the hallmarks of chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Failure of antibiotic therapy has been attributed to the emergence of P. aeruginosa strains that produce β-lactamase constitutively. In Enterobacteriaceae, β-lactamase induction involves four genes with known functions: ampC, ampR, ampD, and ampG, encoding the enzyme, transcriptional regulator, amidase and permease, respectively. In addition to all these amp genes, P. aeruginosa possesses two ampG paralogs, designated ampG and ampP. In this study, P. aeruginosa ampC, ampR, ampG and ampP were analyzed. Inactivation of ampC in the prototypic PAO1 failed to abolish the β-lactamase activity leading to the discovery of P. aeruginosa oxacillinase PoxB. Cloning and expression of poxB in Escherichia coli confers β-lactam resistance. Both AmpC and PoxB contribute to P. aeruginosa resistance against a wide spectrum of β-lactam antibiotics. The expression of PoxB and AmpC is regulated by a LysR-type transcriptional regulator AmpR that up-regulates AmpC but down-regulates PoxB activities. Analyses of P. aeruginosa ampR mutant demonstrate that AmpR is a global regulator that modulates the expressions of Las and Rhl quorum sensing (QS) systems, and the production of pyocyanin, LasA protease and LasB elastase. Introduction of the ampR mutation into an alginate-producing strain reveals the presence of a complex co-regulatory network between antibiotic resistance, QS alginate and other virulence factor production. Using phoA and lacZ protein fusion analyses, AmpR, AmpG and AmpP were localized to the inner membrane with one, 16 and 10 transmembrane helices, respectively. AmpR has a cytoplasmic DNA-binding and a periplasmic substrate binding domains. AmpG and AmpP are essential for the maximal expression of β-lactamase. Analysis of the murein breakdown products suggests that AmpG exports UDP-N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine-γ-D-glutamate-meso-diaminopimelic acid-D-alanine-D-alanine (UDP-MurNAc-pentapeptide), the corepressor of AmpR, whereas AmpP imports N-acetylglucosaminyl-beta-1,4-anhydro-N-acetylmuramic acid-Ala-γ-D-Glu-meso-diaminopimelic acid (GlcNAc-anhMurNAc-tripeptide) and GlcNAc-anhMurNAc-pentapeptide, the co-inducers of AmpR. This study reveals a complex interaction between the Amp proteins and murein breakdown products involved in P. aeruginosa β-lactamase induction. In summary, this dissertation takes us a little closer to understanding the P. aeruginosa complex co-regulatory mechanism in the development of β-lactam resistance and establishment of chronic infection.

Subject Area

Microbiology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Kong, Kok-Fai, "Characterization of the amp genes involved in the regulation of β-lactamase expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa" (2005). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3206025.