Molecular bases determining daptomycin resistance-mediated resensitization to β-lactams (seesaw effect) in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Adriana Renzoni, William L. Kelley, Roberto R. Rosato, Maria P. Martinez, Melanie Roch, Maryam Fatouraei, Daniel P. Haeusser, William Margolin, Samuel Fenn, Robert D. Turner, Simon J. Foster, Adriana E. Rosato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Antimicrobial resistance is recognized as one of the principal threats to public health worldwide, yet the problem is increasing. Infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains are among the most difficult to treat in clinical settings due to the resistance of MRSA to nearly all available antibiotics. The cyclic anionic lipopeptide antibiotic daptomycin (DAP) is the clinical mainstay of anti-MRSA therapy. The decreased susceptibility to DAP (DAP resistance [DAPr]) reported in MRSA is frequently accompanied by a paradoxical decrease in β-lactam resistance, a process known as the "seesaw effect." Despite the observed discordance in resistance phenotypes, the combination of DAP and β-lactams has been proven to be clinically effective for the prevention and treatment of infections due to DAPr MRSA strains. However, the mechanisms underlying the interactions between DAP and β-lactams are largely unknown. In the study described here, we studied the role of mprF with DAP-induced mutations in β-lactam sensitization and its involvement in the effective killing by the DAP-oxacillin (OXA) combination. DAP-OXA-mediated effects resulted in cell wall perturbations, including changes in peptidoglycan insertion, penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP 2) delocalization, and reduced membrane amounts of PBP 2a, despite the increased transcription of mecA through mec regulatory elements. We have found that the VraSR sensor-regulator is a key component of DAP resistance, triggering mutated mprF-mediated cell membrane (CM) modifications that result in impairment of PrsA location and chaperone functions, both of which are essential for PBP 2a maturation, the key determinant of β-lactam resistance. These observations provide for the first time evidence that synergistic effects between DAP and β-lactams involve PrsA posttranscriptional regulation of CM-associated PBP 2a.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01634-16
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Daptomycin
  • MRSA
  • PrsA
  • Seesaw effect
  • β-lactams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular bases determining daptomycin resistance-mediated resensitization to β-lactams (seesaw effect) in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this