Multifaceted roles of efflux proteins in prokaryotes

Asian Journal of Biological and Life Sciences,2018,7,1,1-7.
Published:April 2018
Type:Review Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Irshad Ahmad1, Nighat Nawaz2, Sadeeq Ur Rahman3, Abdul Sajid3, Farhan A. Khan4, Sher B. Khan4, Mohammad Z. Mustafa5 and Simon G. Patching1,*

1School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.

2Department of Chemistry, Islamia College Peshawar, Peshawar, PAKISTAN.

3College of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences, Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, PAKISTAN.

4Department of Animal Health, The University of Agriculture, Peshawar, PAKISTAN.

5Centre for Advanced Studies in Vaccinology and Biotechnology, University of Balochistan, Quetta, PAKISTAN.


Multidrug resistance is a globally increasing problem that has become an alarming threat to antibiotic therapy. A principal resistance mechanism that prokaryotic organisms have evolved is active multidrug efflux, whereby antibiotics and other xenobiotics are exported to the external environment by transport proteins in the cell membrane. Such proteins are especially abundant in Gram-negative bacteria that are responsible for a large proportion of hospital-acquired infections. Based on amino acid sequence similarity, substrate specificity and the energy source used for exporting substrates, prokaryotic organisms contain seven major families of distinct multidrug efflux transporters (ABC, MFS, RND, SMR, MATE, AbgT, PACE). Efflux proteins also have roles in biofilm formation, quorum sensing, resistance to heavy metals and biocides, cell homeostasis and in bacterial pathogenicity and virulence. Prokaryotic efflux proteins are therefore highly important targets for advancements in antibiotic therapy and for ongoing experimental characterisation of their structures, functions, molecular mechanisms and regulation.