Antibiotic stress, genetic response and altered permeability of E. coli

Miguel Viveiros, Myrielle Dupont, Liliana Rodrigues, Isabel Couto, Anne Davin-Regli, Marta Martins, Jean Marie Pagès, Leonard Amaral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Background. Membrane permeability is the first step involved in resistance of bacteria to an antibiotic. The number and activity of efflux pumps and outer membrane proteins that constitute porins play major roles in the definition of intrinsic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria that is altered under antibiotic exposure. Methodology/Principal Findings. Here we describe the genetic regulation of porins and efflux pumps of Escherichia coli during prolonged exposure to increasing concentrations of tetracycline and demonstrate, with the aid of quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction methodology and western blot detection, the sequence order of genetic expression of regulatory genes, their relationship to each other, and the ensuing increased activity of genes that code for transporter proteins of efflux pumps and down-regulation of porin expression. Conclusions/Significance. This study demonstrates that, in addition to the transcriptional regulation of genes coding for membrane proteins, the post-translational regulation of proteins involved in the permeability of Gram-negative bacteria also plays a major role in the physiological adaptation to antibiotic exposure. A model is presented that summarizes events during the physiological adaptation of E. coli to tetracycline exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere365
Pages (from-to)e365-e374
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
VolumeVol. 2
Issue numbern.º 4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2007


  • Carrier protein
  • Outer membrane protein
  • Transcription factorunclassified drug
  • Antiinfective agent
  • Porin
  • SoxS protein
  • Tetracycline


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