Study of the Multidrug Membrane Transporter of Single Living Pseudomonas aeruginosa Cells Using Size-Dependent Plasmonic Nanoparticle Optical Probes
mediaposted on 2010-07-20, 00:00 authored by Prakash D. Nallathamby, Kerry J. Lee, Tanvi Desai, Xiao-Hong Nancy Xu
Multidrug membrane transporters (efflux pumps) in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes are responsible for impossible treatments of a wide variety of diseases, including infections and cancer, underscoring the importance of better understanding of their structures and functions for the design of effective therapies. In this study, we designed and synthesized two silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) with average diameters of 13.1 ± 2.5 nm (8.1−38.6 nm) and 91.0 ± 9.3 nm (56−120 nm) and used the size-dependent plasmonic spectra of single NPs to probe the size-dependent transport kinetics of MexAB-OprM (multidrug transporter) in Pseudomonas aeruginosa in real time at nanometer resolution. We found that the level of accumulation of intracellular NPs in wild-type (WT) cells was higher than in nalB1 (overexpression of MexAB-OprM) but lower than in ΔABM (deletion of MexAB-OprM). In the presence of proton ionophores (CCCP, inhibitor of proton motive force), we found that intracellular NPs in nalB1 were nearly doubled. These results suggest that MexAB-OprM is responsible for the extrusion of NPs out of cells and NPs (orders of magnitude larger than conventional antibiotics) are the substrates of the transporter, which indicates that the substrates may trigger the assembly of the efflux pump optimized for the extrusion of the encountered substrates. We found that the smaller NPs stayed inside the cells longer than larger NPs, suggesting the size-dependent efflux kinetics of the cells. This study shows that multisized NPs can be used to mimic various sizes of antibiotics for probing the size-dependent efflux kinetics of multidrug membrane transporters in single living cells.