Mechanism of uptake of the catecholic (7)-α-formamido cephalosporin BRL 41897A by klebsiella pneumoniae

  • Kus Kuswandi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The catecholic cephalosporin BRL 41897 A is resistant to β-lactamases and is
taken up by bacteria via the iron transport system. The uptake of this antibiotic in E.coli uses the Fiu and Cir outer membrane proteins, whereas in P. aerugtnosa it enters via the pyochelin transport system. In this thesis mutants of K. pneumoniae resistant to BRL 41897A were isolated using TnphoA mutagenesis and used to study the mechanism of uptake of BRL 41897A by K. pneumoniae. The activity of BRL 41897A towards the parent strain (M10) was increased in iron depleted media, whereas no significant differences in the resistant (KSL) mutants were observed.
Three mutants (KSL19, KSL38and KSL59) produced decreased amounts of certain iron-regulated outer membrane proteins. The uptake of 55Fe-BRL 41897A by M10 in iron-deficient medium was higher than in iron-rich medium. This result indicated the involvement of an iron transport system in the uptake of BRL 41897A by K. pneumoniae. Uptake by the KSL mutants in iron-deficient culture was higher than that by M10. This result, supported by analysis of outer membrane and periplasmic proteins of the KSL mutants, indicates that loss of one outer membrane protein can be compensated by over expression of other outer membrane and/or periplasmic proteins. However, the increased uptake of BRL 41897A by the KSL mutants did not reflect increased activity towards these strains, indicating that there are defects in the transport of BRL 41897A resulting in failure to reach the penicillin binding protein target sites in the cytoplasmic membrane. Southern blotting of chromosomal digests and sequencing in one mutant (KSL19) showed that only one copy of TnphoA was inserted into its chromosome. A putative TnphoA inserted gene in KSL19, designated kslA, carrying a signal sequence was identified. Transformation of a fragment containing the kslA gene into KSL19 cells restored the sensitivity to BRL 41897A to that of the parent strain. Data base peptide sequence searches revealed that the kslA gene in the KSL19 has some amino acid homology with the E. coli ExbD protein, which is involved in stabilisation of the TonB protein. 

Date of AwardAug 1996
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPeter Lambert (Supervisor)


  • klebsiella pneumoniae
  • BRL 41897A
  • resistant
  • uptake
  • iron transport

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