Studies on the outer membrane of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and associated resistance properties
The aim of this thesis was to investigate antibacterial agents for use in disinfectant formulation in conjunction with benzalkonium chloride (BKC), and if possible, to synthesise novel agents based upon successful structures. Development of resistance to antibacterial agents following long-term exposure of P. aeruginosa to BKC was also investigated, examining cross-resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics and determining mechanisms of resistance. In this study over 50 compounds were examined for antibacterial action against P. aeruginosa, both alone and in conjunction with BKC. Successful compounds were used to design novel agents, based upon the acridine ring structure, some of which showed synergy with BKC. In 15 of the 16 strains exposed to increasing concentrations of BKC, resistance to the disinfectant arose. Strains PAO1 and OO14 were examined further, each showing stable BKC resistance and a slightly varying profile of cross-resistance. In strain PAO1 alterations in the fatty acids of the cytoplasmic membrane, increase in expression of OprG, decrease in susceptibility to EDTA as an outer membrane permeabilising agent and an increase in negativity of the cell surface charge were observed as cells became more resistant to BKC. In strain OO14 a decrease in whole cell phosphatidylcholine content, a decrease in binding/uptake of BKC and an increase in cell surface hydrophobicity were observed as cells became more resistant to BKC. Resistance to tobramycin in strain OO14 was initially high, but fell as cells were adapted to BKC, this coincided with a quantitative reduction of plasmid DNA in the cells.