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Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

A putative cro-like repressor contributes to arylomycin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus.


PMID 25753642

Abstract

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a significant public health concern and motivate efforts to develop new classes of antibiotics. One such class of antibiotics is the arylomycins, which target type I signal peptidase (SPase), the enzyme responsible for the release of secreted proteins from their N-terminal leader sequences. Despite the essentiality, conservation, and relative accessibility of SPase, the activity of the arylomycins is limited against some bacteria, including the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. To understand the origins of the limited activity against S. aureus, we characterized the susceptibility of a panel of strains to two arylomycin derivatives, arylomycin A-C16 and its more potent analog arylomycin M131. We observed a wide range of susceptibilities to the two arylomycins and found that resistant strains were sensitized by cotreatment with tunicamycin, which inhibits the first step of wall teichoic acid synthesis. To further understand how S. aureus responds to the arylomycins, we profiled the transcriptional response of S. aureus NCTC 8325 to growth-inhibitory concentrations of arylomycin M131 and found that it upregulates the cell wall stress stimulon (CWSS) and an operon consisting of a putative transcriptional regulator and three hypothetical proteins. Interestingly, we found that mutations in the putative transcriptional regulator are correlated with resistance, and selection for resistance ex vivo demonstrated that mutations in this gene are sufficient for resistance. The results begin to elucidate how S. aureus copes with secretion stress and how it evolves resistance to the inhibition of SPase.