Inhibition of Quorum Sensing and Efflux Pump System by Trifluoromethyl Ketone Proton Pump Inhibitors

Zóltan G. Varga, Ana Maria Armada, Pedro Cerca, Leonard Amaral, Mior A. A. Ahmad Subki, Michael A. Savka, Erno Szegedi, Masami Kawase, Noboru Motohashi, Joseph Molnár

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: One major microbiological problem is the widespread antibiotic resistance. There is an urgent need for new antibiotics and ways to treat multi-drug-resistant infections. Inhibition of bacterial quorum sensing (QS) systems could be an effective alternative in a smuch as they regulate a broad spectrum of cell functions, including, virulence factor production, biofilm organisation and motility. Influx and efflux bacterial systems involved in quorum sensing (QS) are known to depend on the proton motive force (PMF). Thus, a new series of 12 trifluoromethyl ketones (TFs) known to inhibit the PMF, was investigated for effects on the efflux pump of a QS responding bacterium, for its subsequent effect on the response to a QS signal and its direct inhibition of the response to a QS signal. Materials and Methods: Chromobacterium violaceum 026 (CV026) was used as the indicator strain to evaluate the QS inhibitory effect of TFs. This strain responds to the presence of short carbon chain acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) by the development of a purple pigment. Effect on the QS response of CV026 to externally added AHLs was evaluated. In addition, the specific activity of the TFs on the efflux pump system of the CV026 strain and a wild-type Escherichia coli strain was assessed with the aid of the automated real-time ethidium bromide method. Results: From the 12 compounds, 6 proved to be effective inhibitors of the QS response by CV026, as well as inhibit the efflux pumps of CV026 and Escherichia coli. Conclusion: Our results show that TFs have QS inhibitory properties that are mediated through their inhibition of efflux pumps that extrude the noxious QS signal before it reaches its intended target. Because the TFs also inhibit the efflux pump of a pathogenic bacterium, the method used for the evaluation of the TFs in the current study has clinical relevance and may be exploited for the prevention of QS responses of infecting bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-285
JournalIn Vivo
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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