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Daptomycin is an extensively used anti-staphylococcal agent due to the rise in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, but the mechanism(s) of resistance is poorly understood. Comparative genome sequencing, transcriptomics, ultrastructure, and cell envelope studies were carried out on two relatively higher level (4 and 8 mu g/ml(-1)) laboratory-derived daptomycin-resistant strains (strains CB1541 and CB1540 respectively) compared to their parent strain (CB1118; MW2). Several mutations were found in the strains. Both strains had the same mutations in the two-component system genes waIK and agrA. In strain CB1540 mutations were also detected in the ribose phosphate pyrophosphokinase (prs) and polyribonucleotide nucleotidyltransferase genes (pnpA), a hypothetical protein gene, and in an intergenic region. In strain CB1541 there were mutations in clpP, an ATP-dependent protease, and two different hypothetical protein genes. The strain CB1540 transcriptome was characterized by upregulation of cap (capsule) operon genes, genes involved in the accumulation of the compatible solute glycine betaine, ure genes of the urease operon, and mscL encoding a mechanosensitive chanel. Downregulated genes included smpB, femAB and femH involved in the formation of the pentaglycine interpeptide bridge, genes involved in protein synthesis and fermentation, and spa encoding protein A. Genes altered in their expression common to both transcriptomes included some involved in glycine betaine accumulation, mscL, ure genes, femH, spa and smpB. However, the CB1541 transcriptome was further characterized by upregulation of various heat shock chaperone and protease genes, consistent with a mutation in clpP, and lytM and sceD. Both strains showed slow growth, and strongly decreased autolytic activity that appeared to be mainly due to decreased autolysin production. In contrast to previous common findings, we did not find any mutations in phospholipid biosynthesis genes, and it appears there are multiple pathways to and factors in daptomycin resistance.


Originally published in Plos One by the Public Library of Science.

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