Global transcriptional responses to triclosan exposure in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Rungtip Chuanchuen, Herbert P. Schweizer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Global gene transcription was assessed by microarray experiments following treatment of a triclosan-susceptible Δ(mexAB-oprM) Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain with subinhibitory concentrations of triclosan. Expression patterns of selected genes were verified by quantitative real-time PCR analysis. The results showed that triclosan exposure had a profound effect on gene expression, affecting 44% of the genes present on the Affymetrix GeneChip®, with 28% of genes being significantly upregulated and 16% being significantly downregulated in triclosan-treated cells. Genes encoding membrane proteins, transporters of small molecules, aspects of amino acid metabolism, and transcriptional regulators were significantly over-represented among the more strongly upregulated or downregulated genes in triclosan-treated cells. Quorum sensing-regulated genes were among the most strongly downregulated genes, presumably because of decreased acyl-acyl carrier protein pools and the resulting reduced acyl-homoserine lactone molecule synthesis. Surprisingly, iron homeostasis was completed perturbed in triclosan-exposed cells, with iron acquisition systems being strongly downregulated and iron storage systems significantly upregulated, thus mimicking conditions of excess iron. The profound perturbations of cellular metabolism via specific and global mechanisms may explain why triclosan is such a potent antimicrobial in susceptible bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-122
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene expression
  • Microarrays
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Triclosan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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