Multidrug transporter proteins of the major facilitator superfamily: not only for drug efflux

Kamela O. Alegre, Stephanie Paul, Christopher J. Law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Multidrug resistance in prokaryotes is due primarily to efflux of offending antimicrobials from the cell by representatives of several different families of integral membrane transporter proteins. Clearly, in evolutionary terms, these proteins did not arise specifically to pump human-made antimicrobials out of the cell and thereby confer resistance. Despite this, often only their role in antibiotic resistance is characterised and highlighted.
In recent years, however, a transition from the traditional anthropocentric perception of antibiotic resistance mechanisms in microorganisms has occurred, with naturally produced antimicrobials now generally regarded as physiologically important signalling molecules or sources of nutrition for bacteria rather than antimicrobial agents, and bacterial multidrug efflux proteins not merely as a defensive response to antimicrobials but as important players in fundamental physiological processes such as cellular homeostasis.
This emerging perspective supports the notion that a better understanding of the complexities of infection and multidrug resistance in bacteria can be achieved via a more detailed understanding of those physiological processes. In this chapter, we review the ‘true’ physiological roles of multidrug efflux proteins of the largest non-ATP-hydrolysing family of membrane transporters, the major facilitator superfamily, and explore the evidence for their function in processes such as pH and metal homeostasis, import and export of metabolites and biofilm formation
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProkaryotes: Physiology, Biochemistry and Cell Behavior
EditorsMarina Nisnevitch
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63463-284-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameBiochemistry Research Trends


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