VraSR and virulence trait modulation during daptomycin resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection

Agustina Taglialegna, Maria C. Varela, Roberto R. Rosato, Adriana E. Rosato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) threatens human health in hospital and community settings. The lipopeptide antibiotic daptomycin (DAP) is a frequently used treatment option for MRSA infection. DAP exposure can cause bacterial resistance because mutations are induced in genes implicated in cell membrane and cell wall metabolism. Adaptations aimed at surviving antimicrobial pressure can affect bacterial physiology and modify in vivo aptitude and pathogenesis. In this study, clinical DAP-susceptible (DAP s ) and DAP-resistant (DAP r ) MRSA isolates were used to investigate associations between DAP resistance and staphylococcal virulence. We previously found that VraSR is a critical sensor of cell membrane/ wall homeostasis associated with DAP acquisition during MRSA infection. The present study found that DAP r CB1634 and CB5014 MRSA strains with vraSR upregulation were less virulent than their susceptible counterparts, CB1631 and CB5013. Differential gene-transcription profile analysis revealed that DAP r CB1634 had decreased agr two-component system expression, virulence factors, and highly suppressed hemolysis activity. Functional genetic analysis performed in DAP r CB1634 strains using vraSR inactivation followed by gene complementation found that vraSR acted as a transcriptional agrA regulator. These results indicated that VraSR has a broad range of regulatory functions. VraSR also appeared to affect DAP r adherence to epithelial cells, which would affect DAP r strain colonization and survival in the host. The correlation between DAP resistance and decreased virulence was also found in the CB5013 (DAP s ) and CB5014 (DAP r ) pair. Taken together, these findings are the first evidence that DAP resistance and MRSA virulence are tightly connected and involve compromised expression of regulatory and virulence determinants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00557-18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Daptomycin
  • MRSA
  • VraSR
  • virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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