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Volume 50, Number 2, April 2017

Distribution of different efflux pump genes in clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii and their correlation with antimicrobial resistance 

Ming-Feng Lin, Yun-You Lin, Chi-Chao Tu, Chung-Yu Lan


Corresponding author:

Chung-Yu Lan, Corresponding author. Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, National Tsing Hua University, Number 101, Section 2, Kuang-Fu Road, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan. 


Background and purpose: 

Efflux pumps are one of the major mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in Acinetobacter baumannii. This study aimed to understand the distribution of different types of pump genes in clinical isolates of multidrug-resistant A. baumannii (MDRAB) and to reveal the relationship between their presence and expression with antimicrobial resistance. 



MDRAB isolates were collected from five hospitals in Taiwan. Different categories of pump genes, including adeB, adeJ, macB, abeM, abeS, emrA-like, emrB-like, and craA, were chosen, and their presence in the collected isolates was determined. Three induced resistant strains of A. baumannii ATCC 17978 to tigecycline, imipenem, and amikacin were also included. The expressions of the selected pump genes were determined using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. 



Twenty-one MDRAB clinical isolates were obtained from five hospitals. All of the studied pump genes were present in the collected MDRAB isolates except one isolate that lacked the emrA-like gene. The gene expression of these efflux pumps was variable among the strains. The upregulation of the adeB, adeJ, and macB genes was responsible for tigecycline resistance, and the increased abeS expression was strongly related to amikacin resistance. Of all the antibiotics studied, tigecycline was the strongest inducer of gene expression for many efflux pumps in A. baumannii.




Efflux pump genes are universally present in the collected clinical MDRAB isolates. The upregulation of the adeB, adeJ, macB and abeS genes is more related with antibiotic resistance. 


Key words:

Acinetobacter baumannii, antibiotic resistance, efflux pumps