Target optimization for peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-mediated antisense inhibition of the CmeABC multidrug efflux pump in Campylobacter jejuni

Euna Oh, Qijing Zhang, Byeonghwa Jeon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objectives: CmeABC is a resistance-nodulation-cell division (RND)-type multidrug efflux pump conferring resistance to clinically important antibiotics in Campylobacter. This study aimed to identify the optimal target sites for the inhibition of CmeABC with antisense peptide nucleic acid (PNA). Methods: Eighteen PNAs were designed to bind to the translational initiation regions of cmeABC, spanning the ribosome-binding site (RBS) and the start codon of the cmeABC genes. Campylobacter jejuni was treated with CmeABC-specific PNAs (CmeABC-PNAs) at various concentrations and subjected to western blotting to measure changes in the level of CmeABC expression. The MICs of ciprofloxacin and erythromycin were measured to evaluate the impact of CmeABC knockdown on antibiotic susceptibility. Results: While antisense PNA significantly affected CmeA and CmeB expression, interestingly, CmeC expression was not altered by any of the CmeC-PNAs used in this study. A CmeA-PNA targeting the RBS of cmeA and its upstream region reduced CmeA expression most efficiently, and CmeB expression was most significantly decreased by PNA binding to the RBS of cmeB and its downstream region. CmeA- and CmeB-PNAs increased the susceptibility of C. jejuni to ciprofloxacin and erythromycin in proportion to the inhibition levels observed in western blotting. Conclusions: The cmeA gene is the best target to knockdown CmeABC with antisense PNA. The RBS is the major target for the PNA-mediated antisense inhibition of CmeABC. However, regions in its vicinity also significantly influence the effectiveness of the PNA-based knockdown of CmeABC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdkt381
Pages (from-to)375-380
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (1R21AI098742-01). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


  • Efflux pump inhibitors
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Macrolides


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