Identification of genes involved in the susceptibility of Serratia marcescens to polyquaternium-1

Caroline E Codling, Brian V Jones, Eshwar Mahenthiralingam, A Denver Russell, Jean-Yves Maillard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)


OBJECTIVES: Polyquaternium-1 (PQ-1) is a biocide used commercially in a contact lens disinfecting solution, 'Opti-Free Express (Alcon) Multi-Purpose Disinfecting Solution'. The genetic basis for resistance of Serratia marcescens to PQ-1 was investigated using a random transposon-based mutagenesis approach.

METHODS: S. marcescens was subjected to random transposon mutagenesis using a mini-Tn5 Km2 transposon. Mutants with increased susceptibility to PQ-1 were selected and the disrupted genes were identified. Antibiotic susceptibility profiles were also determined for all of the mutants.

RESULTS: A wide range of genes were found to be disrupted in the mutants. The most common were genes associated with the cell membranes, or involved in biosynthesis and metabolism.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that random transposon mutagenesis is an effective tool for the elucidation of mechanisms of action and resistance to biocides. The results support our previous findings that PQ-1 is active against the cytoplasmic membrane of S. marcescens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-375
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number2
Early online date1 Aug 2004
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004


  • Blotting, Southern
  • Contact Lens Solutions/pharmacology
  • Culture Media
  • DNA Transposable Elements/genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial/genetics
  • Genes, Bacterial/genetics
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Polymers/pharmacology
  • Serratia marcescens/drug effects


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