Background. The global regulator sarA modulates virulence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) via regulation of principal virulence factors (eg, adhesins and toxins) and biofilm formation. Resistance of S. aureus strains to β-lactam antibiotics (eg, oxacillin) depends on the production of penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a), encoded by mecA. Methods. In the present study, we investigated the impact of sarA on the phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of oxacillin resistance both in vitro and in an experimental endocarditis model, using prototypic healthcare- and community-associated MRSA parental and their respective sarA mutant strain sets. Results. All sarA mutants (vs respective MRSA parental controls) displayed significant reductions in oxacillin resistance and biofilm formation in vitro and oxacillin persistence in an experimental endocarditis model in vivo. These phenotypes corresponded to reduced mecA expression and PBP2a production and an interdependency of sarA and sigB regulators. Moreover, RNA sequencing analyses showed that sarA mutants exhibited significantly increased levels of primary extracellular proteases and suppressed pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway, argininosuccinate lyase-encoding, and ABC transporter-related genes as compared to the parental strain. Conclusions. These results suggested that sarA regulates oxacillin resistance in mecA-positive MRSA. Thus, abrogation of this regulator represents an attractive and novel drug target to potentiate efficacy of existing antibiotic for MRSA therapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy
- Infectious Diseases
- MRSA endocarditis
- ß-lactam antibiotic resistance