Plasmid-encoded tetracycline efflux pump protein alters bacterial stress responses and ecological fitness of acinetobacter oleivorans

Hyerim Hong, Jaejoon Jung, Woojun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Acquisition of the extracellular tetracycline (TC) resistance plasmid pAST2 affected host gene expression and phenotype in the oil-degrading soil bacterium, Acinetobacter oleivorans DR1. Whole-transcriptome profiling of DR1 cells harboring pAST2 revealed that all the plasmid genes were highly expressed under TC conditions, and the expression levels of many host chromosomal genes were modulated by the presence of pAST2. The host energy burden imposed by replication of pAST2 led to (i) lowered ATP concentrations, (ii) downregulated expression of many genes involved in cellular growth, and (iii) reduced growth rate. Interestingly, some phenotypes were restored by deleting the plasmid-encoded efflux pump gene tetH, suggesting that the membrane integrity changes resulting from the incorporation of efflux pump proteins also resulted in altered host response under the tested conditions. Alteration of membrane integrity by tetH deletion was shown by measuring permeability of fluorescent probe and membrane hydrophobicity. The presence of the plasmid conferred peroxide and superoxide resistance to cells, but only peroxide resistance was diminished by tetH gene deletion, suggesting that the plasmid-encoded membrane-bound efflux pump protein provided peroxide resistance. The downregulation of fimbriae-related genes presumably led to reduced swimming motility, but this phenotype was recovered by tetH gene deletion. Our data suggest that not only the plasmid replication burden, but also its encoded efflux pump protein altered host chromosomal gene expression and phenotype, which also alters the ecological fitness of the host in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere107716
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Sept 17

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Hong et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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