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    ABSTRACT: The enterococcal plasmid pKQ10 has been reported to carry a poorly characterized tetracycline resistance determinant designated tet(U). However, in a series of studies intended to further characterize this determinant, we have been unable to substantiate the claim that tet(U) confers resistance to tetracyclines. In line with these results, bioinformatic analysis provides compelling evidence that "tet(U)" is in fact the misannotated 3' end of a gene encoding a rolling-circle replication initiator (Rep) protein.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 04/2012; 56(6):3378-9.
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic basis of tolerance to inhibitors of peptidoglycan biosynthesis in Staphylococcus aureus was investigated by generating tolerant mutants in vitro and characterizing them by comparative genome sequencing. Two independently selected tolerant mutants harbored nonsynonymous mutations in gdpP, a gene encoding a putative membrane-located signaling protein. Insertional inactivation of gdpP also conferred tolerance. Our findings further implicate altered signal transduction as a route to antibiotic tolerance in S. aureus.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 01/2012; 56(1):579-81.
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    ABSTRACT: Lantibiotics such as nisin (NIS) are peptide antibiotics that may have a role in the chemotherapy of bacterial infections. A perceived benefit of lantibiotics for clinical use is their low propensity to select resistance, although detailed resistance studies with relevant bacterial pathogens are lacking. Here we examined the development of resistance to NIS in Staphylococcus aureus, establishing that mutants, including small-colony variants, exhibiting substantial (4- to 32-fold) reductions in NIS susceptibility could be selected readily. Comparative genome sequencing of a single NISr mutant exhibiting a 32-fold increase in NIS MIC revealed the presence of only two mutations, leading to the substitutions V229G in the purine operon repressor, PurR, and A208E in an uncharacterized protein encoded by SAOUHSC_02955. Independently selected NISr mutants also harbored mutations in the genes encoding these products. Reintroduction of these mutations into the S. aureus chromosome alone and in combination revealed that SAOUHSC_02955(A208E) made the primary contribution to the resistance phenotype, conferring up to a 16-fold decrease in NIS susceptibility. Bioinformatic analyses suggested that this gene encodes a sensor histidine kinase, leading us to designate it "nisin susceptibility-associated sensor (nsaS)." Doubling-time determinations and mixed-culture competition assays between NISr and NISs strains indicated that NIS resistance had little impact on bacterial fitness, and resistance was stable in the absence of selection. The apparent ease with which S. aureus can develop and maintain NIS resistance in vitro suggests that resistance to NIS and other lantibiotics with similar modes of action would arise in the clinic if these agents are employed as chemotherapeutic drugs.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 02/2011; 55(5):2362-8.
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    ABSTRACT: We further examined the usefulness of previously reported Bacillus subtilis biosensors for antibacterial mode-of-action studies. The biosensors could not detect the tRNA synthetase inhibitors mupirocin, indolmycin, and borrelidin, some inhibitors of peptidoglycan synthesis, and most membrane-damaging agents. However, the biosensors confirmed the modes of action of several RNA polymerase inhibitors and DNA intercalators and provided new insights into the possible modes of action of ciprofloxacin, anhydrotetracycline, corralopyronin, 8-hydroxyquinoline, and juglone.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 01/2011; 55(4):1784-6.
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of resistance to fusidic acid in clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), has increased in the past 2 decades. However, there are limited data regarding the relative importance in this process of the different staphylococcal determinants that mediate resistance to fusidic acid. Furthermore, the roles played by clonal dissemination of fusidic acid-resistant strains versus horizontal transmission of fusidic acid resistance determinants have not been investigated in detail. To gain insight into both issues, we examined fusidic acid resistance in 1,639 MRSA isolates collected in Denmark between 2003 and 2005. Resistance to fusidic acid (MIC, >1 μg/ml) was exhibited by 291 (17.6%) isolates. For the majority of these isolates (∼87%), resistance was attributed to carriage of fusB or fusC, while the remainder harbored mutations in the gene (fusA) encoding the drug target (EF-G). The CC80-MRSA-IV clone carrying fusB accounted for ∼61% of the resistant isolates in this collection, while a single CC5 clone harboring fusC represented ∼12% of the resistant strains. These findings emphasize the importance of clonal dissemination of fusidic acid resistance within European MRSA strains. Nonetheless, the distribution of fusB and fusC across several genetic lineages, and their presence on multiple genetic elements, indicates that horizontal transmission of fusidic acid resistance genes has also played an important role in the increasing prevalence of fusidic acid resistance in MRSA.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 12/2010; 55(3):1173-6.
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    ABSTRACT: We sought to identify and characterize new inhibitors of MurA and MurZ, which are enzymes involved in the early stages of bacterial peptidoglycan synthesis. A library of ∼650 000 compounds was screened for inhibitors of Escherichia coli MurA in an endpoint assay measuring release of inorganic phosphate from phosphoenolpyruvate. Hits were validated by determining the concentrations required for 50% inhibition (IC(50)) of MurA from E. coli and MurA/MurZ from Staphylococcus aureus. The mode of action of selected inhibitors was explored by examining the reversibility of MurA inhibition, the binding of a radiolabelled inhibitor to MurA proteins and through docking studies. Inhibitors were further characterized by determining their antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus. Benzothioxalone derivatives were identified that inhibited MurA from E. coli and MurA/MurZ from S. aureus with IC(50) values between 0.25 and 51 µM. Several inhibitors also exhibited activity against S. aureus with MICs in the range 4-128 mg/L. Inhibition of MurA was irreversible and a radiolabelled inhibitor from this compound class displayed stoichiometric binding to the enzyme, which was displaced by dithiothreitol. Binding was undetectable with a C115D mutant MurA protein. The results suggest a mode of action for the benzothioxalones that involves the formation of a disulfide bond with MurA/MurZ, via attack from an active site cysteine on the thioxalone ring carbonyl group, followed by ring opening to yield an S-acylated protein. The proposed covalent mode of action may prove useful in the design of new antibacterial agents.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 12/2010; 65(12):2566-73.
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies suggest that furanyl-rhodanines might specifically inhibit bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP). We further explored three compounds from this class. Although they inhibited RNAP, each compound also inhibited malate dehydrogenase and chymotrypsin. Using biosensors responsive to inhibition of macromolecular synthesis and membrane damaging assays, we concluded that in bacteria, one compound inhibited DNA synthesis and another caused membrane damage. The third rhodanine lacked antibacterial activity. We consider furanyl-rhodanines to be unattractive RNAP inhibitor drug candidates.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 10/2010; 54(10):4506-9.
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    ABSTRACT: To provide comparative genome sequence data for two related model strains of Staphylococcus aureus (SH1000 and 8325-4) that are used extensively in laboratory research. Comparative genome sequencing was used to identify genetic differences between Staph. aureus SH1000 and the fully genome-sequenced ancestral strain, Staph. aureus NCTC 8325. PCR amplification and DNA sequencing were employed to determine which of the genetic polymorphisms identified were also present in Staph. aureus 8325-4, a direct derivative of 8325 and the parent strain of SH1000. Aside from known genetic differences between these strains, Staph. aureus SH1000 harboured 15 single-nucleotide polymorphisms compared with 8325 (of which 12 were also found in 8325-4), and a 63-bp deletion upstream of the spa gene not present in either 8325 or 8325-4. Staphylococcus aureus SH1000 and 8325-4 contain a number of genetic polymorphisms relative to the progenitor strain of the lineage (8325) and to each other. The comparative genome sequences of SH1000 and 8325-4 presented here define the genotypes of two key strains in staphylococcal laboratory research and reveal genetic polymorphisms that may impact their phenotypic properties.
    Letters in Applied Microbiology 09/2010; 51(3):358-61.
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    ABSTRACT: The modern era of antibacterial chemotherapy began in the 1930s, and the next four decades saw the discovery of almost all the major classes of antibacterial agents that are currently in use. However, bacterial resistance to many of these drugs is becoming an increasing problem. As such, the discovery of drugs with novel modes of action will be vital to meet the threats created by the emergence of resistance. Success in discovering inhibitors using high-throughput screening of chemical libraries is rare. In this Review we explore the exciting opportunities for antibacterial-drug discovery arising from structure-based drug design.
    Nature Reviews Microbiology 07/2010; 8(7):501-10.
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    ABSTRACT: Slow-growing and non-dividing bacteria exhibit tolerance to many antibiotics. However, membrane-active agents may act against bacteria in all growth phases. We sought to examine whether the novel porphyrin antibacterial agents XF-70 and XF-73, which have rapid membrane-perturbing activity against Staphylococcus aureus, retained antistaphylococcal activity against growth-attenuated cells. The killing kinetics of XF-70, XF-73 and various comparator agents against exponential phase cultures of S. aureus SH1000 were compared with effects on cells held at 4 degrees C, non-growing cultures expressing the stringent response induced by mupirocin and bacteria in the stationary phase. Biofilms of S. aureus SH1000 were generated with the Calgary device to examine the activities of XF-70 and XF-73 under a further system exhibiting diminished bacterial growth. Cold culture, stringent response and stationary phase cultures remained susceptible to XF-70 and XF-73, which caused > or =5 log reductions in viability over 2 h. During this period the most active comparator agents (chlorhexidine and cetyltrimethylammonium bromide) only promoted a 3 log drop in viability. XF-70 and XF-73 were also highly active against biofilms, with both agents exhibiting low biofilm MICs (1 mg/L) and minimum biofilm eradication concentrations (2 mg/L). XF-70 and XF-73 remained highly active against various forms of slow-growing or non-dividing S. aureus. The results support the hypothesis that membrane-active agents may be particularly effective in eradicating slow- or non-growing bacteria and suggest that XF-70 and XF-73 could be utilized to treat staphylococcal infections where the organisms are only dividing slowly, such as biofilm-associated infections of prosthetic devices.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 11/2009; 65(1):72-8.
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