Introduction of the mec element (methicillin resistance) into staphylococcus aureus alters in vitro functional activities of fibrinogen and fibronectin adhesins

Pierre E. Vaudaux, Vincenza Monzillo, Patrice Francois, Daniel P. Lew, Tim J. Foster, Brigitte Berger-Bächi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Soome methicillin-resistant strains of staphylococcus aureus are defective in the production of major surface components such as protein A, clumping factor, or other important adhesins to extracellular matrix components which may play a role in bacterial colonization and infection. To evaluate the impact of methicillin resistance (mec) determinants on bacterial adhesion mediated by fibrinogen or fibronectin adhesins, we compared the in vitro attachment of two genetically distinct susceptible strains (NCTC8325 and Newman) to protein-coated surfaces with that of isogenic methicillin- resistant derivatives. All strains containing an intact mec element in their chromosomes were found to be defective in adhesion to fibrinogen and fibronectin immobilized on polymethylmethacrylate coverslips, regardless of the presence or absence of additional mutations in the femA, femB, or femC gene, known to decrease expression of methicillin resistance in S. aureus. Western ligand affinity blotting or immunoblotting of cell wall-associated adhesins revealed similar contents of fibrinogen- or fibronectin-binding proteins in methicillin-resistant strains compared to those of their methicillin-susceptible counterparts. In contrast to methicillin-resistant strains carrying a mec element in their genomes, methicillin-resistant strains constructed in vitro, by introducing the mecA gene on a plasmid, retained their adhesion phenotypes. In conclusion, the chromosomal insertion of the mec element into genetically defined strains of S. aureus impairs the in vitro functional activities of fibrinogen or fibronectin adhesins without altering their production. This effect is unrelated to the activity of the mecA gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-570
Number of pages7
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Volume42
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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