AcrAB-TolC is a resistance nodulation division type of efflux pump present in Enterobacteriaceae. It non-specifically effluxes antibiotics out of the bacterial cell, thus conferring drug resistance. Increase in the expression of the AcrAB-TolC efflux pump increases resistance to antibiotics. We aimed to study the expression levels of acrA and acrB that encodes AcrAB-TolC efflux pump, to understand efflux pump mediated resistance to carbapenem among clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae obtained from various clinical samples. Additionally, co -production of carbapenemase was also detected in the isolates demonstrating efflux pump mediated resistance to carbapenems. A total of 127 carbapenem resistant clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae, isolated from a tertiary care hospital were included in the study. An efflux pump inhibition (EPI) assay with reserpine, an efflux pump inhibitor, was performed to screen for isolates exhibiting efflux pump activity. Real Time Reverse Transcriptase qPCR was performed to detect the mRNA over expression levels of acrA and acrB that encodes AcrAB-TolC efflux pump. The control strains K. pneumoniae BAA2146 and E. coli AcrB were used. EPI assay with carbapenem showed that 56 /127(44%) isolates were screen positive indicating efflux pump activity. A total of 12 isolates showed 101 to 107 increase in the expression of both acrA and acrB when compared with the controls indicating a strong efflux pump activity, in addition to producing carbapenemase. The study highlights the role of efflux pump AcrAB-TolC in conferring resistance to carbapenem among clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae.
AcrAB-TolC, Reserpine, Carbapenem Resistance, Clinical Isolates of Enterobacteriaceae, Real Time RT qPCR
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