ABSTRACT: Nasal colonization by the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is a major risk factor for hospital- and community-acquired infections. A key factor required for nasal colonization is a cell surface-exposed zwitterionic glycopolymer, termed wall teichoic acid (WTA). However, the precise mechanisms that govern WTA-mediated nasal colonization have remained elusive. Here, we report that WTA GlcNAcylation is a pivotal requirement for WTA-dependent attachment of community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and emerging livestock-associated MRSA to human nasal epithelial cells, even under conditions simulating the nutrient composition and dynamic flow of nasal secretions. Depending on the S. aureus strain, WTA O-GlcNAcylation occurs in either ? or ? configuration, which have similar capacities to mediate attachment to human nasal epithelial cells, suggesting that many S. aureus strains maintain redundant pathways to ensure appropriate WTA glycosylation. Strikingly, a lack of WTA glycosylation significantly abrogated the ability of MRSA to colonize cotton rat nares in vivo. These results indicate that WTA glycosylation modulates S. aureus nasal colonization and may help to develop new strategies for eradicating S. aureus nasal colonization in the future.Nasal colonization by the major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is a risk factor for severe endogenous infections and contributes to the spread of this microbe in hospitals and the community. Here, we show that wall teichoic acid (WTA) O-GlcNAcylation is a key factor required for S. aureus nasal colonization. These data provide a mechanistic explanation for the capacity of WTA to modulate S. aureus nasal colonization and may stimulate research activities to establish valuable strategies to eradicate S. aureus nasal colonization in high-risk hospitalized patients and in the general community.
Project description:Nasal colonization is a major risk factor for S. aureus infections. The mechanisms responsible for colonization are still not well understood and involve several factors on the host and the bacterial side. One key factor is the cell wall teichoic acid (WTA) of S. aureus, which governs direct interactions with nasal epithelial surfaces. We report here the first receptor for the cell wall glycopolymer WTA on nasal epithelial cells. In several assay systems this type F-scavenger receptor, termed SREC-I, bound WTA in a charge dependent manner and mediated adhesion to nasal epithelial cells in vitro. The impact of WTA and SREC-I interaction on epithelial adhesion was especially pronounced under shear stress, which resembles the conditions found in the nasal cavity. Most importantly, we demonstrate here a key role of the WTA-receptor interaction in a cotton rat model of nasal colonization. When we inhibited WTA mediated adhesion with a SREC-I antibody, nasal colonization in the animal model was strongly reduced at the early onset of colonization. More importantly, colonization stayed low over an extended period of 6 days. Therefore we propose targeting of this glycopolymer-receptor interaction as a novel strategy to prevent or control S. aureus nasal colonization.
Project description:Many Staphylococcus aureus have lost a major genetic barrier against phage infection, termed clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR/cas). Hence, S. aureus strains frequently exchange genetic material via phage-mediated horizontal gene transfer events, but, in turn, are vulnerable in particular to lytic phages. Here, a novel strategy of S. aureus is described, which protects S. aureus against the lytic activity of Podoviridae, a unique family of staphylococcal lytic phages with short, non-contractile tails. Unlike most staphylococcal phages, Podoviridae require a precise wall teichoic acid (WTA) glycosylation pattern for infection. Notably, TarM-mediated WTA ?-O-GlcNAcylation prevents infection of Podoviridae while TarS-mediated WTA ?-O-GlcNAcylation is required for S. aureus susceptibility to podoviruses. Tracking the evolution of TarM revealed an ancient origin in other staphylococci and vertical inheritance during S. aureus evolution. However, certain phylogenetic branches have lost tarM during evolution, which rendered them podovirus-susceptible. Accordingly, lack of tarM correlates with podovirus susceptibility and can be converted into a podovirus-resistant phenotype upon ectopic expression of tarM indicating that a "glyco-switch" of WTA O-GlcNAcylation can prevent the infection by certain staphylococcal phages. Since lytic staphylococcal phages are considered as anti-S. aureus agents, these data may help to establish valuable strategies for treatment of infections.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus peptidoglycan (PG) is densely functionalized with anionic polymers called wall teichoic acids (WTAs). These polymers contain three tailoring modifications: d-alanylation, ?-O-GlcNAcylation, and ?-O-GlcNAcylation. Here we describe the discovery and biochemical characterization of a unique glycosyltransferase, TarS, that attaches ?-O-GlcNAc (?-O-N-acetyl-D-glucosamine) residues to S. aureus WTAs. We report that methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is sensitized to ?-lactams upon tarS deletion. Unlike strains completely lacking WTAs, which are also sensitive to ?-lactams, ?tarS strains have no growth or cell division defects. Because neither ?-O-GlcNAc nor ?-O-Glucose modifications can confer resistance, the resistance phenotype requires a highly specific chemical modification of the WTA backbone, ?-O-GlcNAc residues. These data suggest ?-O-GlcNAcylated WTAs scaffold factors required for MRSA resistance. The ?-O-GlcNAc transferase identified here, TarS, is a unique target for antimicrobials that sensitize MRSA to ?-lactams.
Project description:The objectives of this study were to investigate the immune response to intradermal immunization with wall teichoic acid (WTA) and the effect of MBL deficiency in a murine model of infection with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). WTA is a bacterial cell wall component that is implicated in invasive infection. We tested susceptibility to MRSA infection in wild type (WT) and MBL deficient mice using two strains of MRSA: MW2, a community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA); and COL, a healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA). We also performed in vitro assays to investigate the effects of anti-WTA IgG containing murine serum on complement activation and bacterial growth in whole blood. We found that MBL knockout (KO) mice are relatively resistant to a specific MRSA strain, MW2 CA-MRSA, compared to WT mice, while both strains of mice had similar susceptibility to a different strain, COL HA-MRSA. Intradermal immunization with WTA elicited and augmented an anti-WTA IgG response in both WT and MBL KO mice. WTA immunization significantly reduced susceptibility to both MW2 CA-MRSA and COL HA-MRSA, independent of the presence of MBL. The protective mechanisms of anti-WTA IgG are mediated at least in part by complement activation and clearance of bacteria from blood. The significance of these findings is that 1) Intradermal immunization with WTA induces production of anti-WTA IgG; and 2) This anti-WTA IgG response protects from infection with both MW2 CA-MRSA and COL HA-MRSA even in the absence of MBL, the deficiency of which is common in humans.
Project description:The wall teichoic acid (WTA) is a major cell wall component of Gram-positive bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a common cause of fatal clinical infections in humans. Thus, the indispensable ABC transporter TarGH, which flips WTA from cytoplasm to extracellular space, becomes a promising target of anti-MRSA drugs. Here, we report the 3.9-Å cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of a 50% sequence-identical homolog of TarGH from Alicyclobacillus herbarius at an ATP-free and inward-facing conformation. Structural analysis combined with activity assays enables us to clearly decode the binding site and inhibitory mechanism of the anti-MRSA inhibitor Targocil, which targets TarGH. Moreover, we propose a "crankshaft conrod" mechanism utilized by TarGH, which can be applied to similar ABC transporters that translocate a rather big substrate through relatively subtle conformational changes. These findings provide a structural basis for the rational design and optimization of antibiotics against MRSA.IMPORTANCE The wall teichoic acid (WTA) is a major component of cell wall and a pathogenic factor in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The ABC transporter TarGH is indispensable for flipping WTA precursor from cytoplasm to the extracellular space, thus making it a promising drug target for anti-MRSA agents. The 3.9-Å cryo-EM structure of a TarGH homolog helps us to decode the binding site and inhibitory mechanism of a recently reported inhibitor, Targocil, and provides a structural platform for rational design and optimization of potential antibiotics. Moreover, we propose a "crankshaft conrod" mechanism to explain how a big substrate is translocated through subtle conformational changes of type II exporters. These findings advance our understanding of anti-MRSA drug design and ABC transporters.
Project description:The cell envelopes of many Gram-positive bacteria contain wall teichoic acids (WTAs). Staphylococcus aureus WTAs are composed of ribitol phosphate (RboP) or glycerol phosphate (GroP) backbones substituted with D-alanine and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine (GlcNAc) or N-acetyl-D-galactosamine (GalNAc). Two WTA glycosyltransferases, TarM and TarS, are responsible for modifying the RboP WTA with ?-GlcNAc and ?-GlcNAc, respectively. We recently reported that purified human serum anti-WTA IgG specifically recognizes ?-GlcNAc of the staphylococcal RboP WTA and then facilitates complement C3 deposition and opsonophagocytosis of S. aureus laboratory strains. This prompted us to examine whether anti-WTA IgG can induce C3 deposition on a diverse set of clinical S. aureus isolates. To this end, we compared anti-WTA IgG-mediated C3 deposition and opsonophagocytosis abilities using 13 different staphylococcal strains. Of note, the majority of S. aureus strains tested was recognized by anti-WTA IgG, resulting in C3 deposition and opsonophagocytosis. A minority of strains was not recognized by anti-WTA IgG, which correlated with either extensive capsule production or an alteration in the WTA glycosylation pattern. Our results demonstrate that the presence of WTAs with TarS-mediated glycosylation with ?-GlcNAc in clinically isolated S. aureus strains is an important factor for induction of anti-WTA IgG-mediated C3 deposition and opsonophagocytosis.
Project description:The methicillin resistance factor encoded by fmtA is a core member of the Staphylococcus aureus cell wall stimulon, but its function has remained elusive for the past two decades. First identified as a factor that affects methicillin resistance in S. aureus strains, FmtA was later shown to interact with teichoic acids and to localize to the cell division septum. We have made a breakthrough in understanding FmtA function. We show that FmtA hydrolyzes the ester bond between d-Ala and the backbone of teichoic acids, which are polyglycerol-phosphate or polyribitol-phosphate polymers found in the S. aureus cell envelope. FmtA contains two conserved motifs found in serine active-site penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) and ?-lactamases. The conserved SXXK motif was found to be important for the d-amino esterase activity of FmtA. Moreover, we show that deletion of fmtA (?fmtA) led to higher levels of d-Ala in teichoic acids, and this effect was reversed by complementation of ?fmtA with fmtA. The positive charge on d-Ala partially masks the negative charge of the polyol-phosphate backbone of teichoic acids; hence, a change in the d-Ala content will result in modulation of their charge. Cell division, biofilm formation, autolysis, and colonization are among the many processes in S. aureus affected by the d-Ala content and overall charge of the cell surface teichoic acids. The esterase activity of FmtA and the regulation of fmtA suggest that FmtA functions as a modulator of teichoic acid charge, thus FmtA may be involved in S. aureus cell division, biofilm formation, autolysis, and colonization.Teichoic acids are involved in cell division, cell wall synthesis, biofilm formation, attachment of bacteria to artificial surfaces, and colonization. However, the function of teichoic acids is not fully understood. Modification by glycosylation and/or d-alanylation of the polyol-phosphate backbone of teichoic acids is important in the above cell processes. The intrinsic negative charge of teichoic acid backbone plays a role in the charge and/or pH of the bacterial surface, and d-alanylation represents a means through which bacteria modulate the charge or the pH of their surfaces. We discovered that FmtA removes d-Ala from teichoic acids. We propose FmtA may provide a temporal and spatial regulation of the bacterial cell surface charge in two ways, by removing the d-Ala from LTA to make it available to wall teichoic acid (WTA) in response to certain conditions and by removing it from WTA to allow the cell to reset its surface charge to a previous condition.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a common human and animal opportunistic pathogen. In humans nasal carriage of S. aureus is a risk factor for various infections. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus ST398 is highly prevalent in pigs in Europe and North America. The mechanism of successful pig colonization by MRSA ST398 is poorly understood. Previously, we developed a nasal colonization model of porcine nasal mucosa explants to identify molecular traits involved in nasal MRSA colonization of pigs. Here, we report the analysis of the transcriptome of MRSA ST398 strain S0462 during colonization on the explant epithelium. Major regulated genes were encoding metabolic processes and regulation of these genes represents metabolic adaptation to nasal mucosa explants. Colonization was not accompanied by significant changes in transcripts of main virulence associated genes or known human colonization factors. Here, we document regulation of two genes which have potential influence on S. aureus colonization; cysteine extracellular proteinase (scpA) and von Willebrand factor-binding protein (vwbp, located on SaPIbov5). Colonization with isogenic-deletion strains (Δvwbp and ΔscpA) did not alter the nasal S. aureus colonization compared to wild type. Our results suggest that nasal colonization with MRSA ST398 is a complex event that is accompanied with changes in bacterial gene expression regulation and metabolic adaptation. Number of the samples: 5 (timepoint 0 min, 30 min, 60 min, 90 min and 180 min) in 4 replicates. 4 control samples
Project description:Infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a growing health threat worldwide. Efforts to identify novel antibodies that target S. aureus cell surface antigens are a promising direction in the development of antibiotics that can halt MRSA infection. We biochemically and structurally characterized three patient-derived MRSA-targeting antibodies that bind to wall teichoic acid (WTA), which is a polyanionic surface glycopolymer. In S. aureus, WTA exists in both ?- and ?-forms, based on the stereochemistry of attachment of a N-acetylglucosamine residue to the repeating phosphoribitol sugar unit. We identified a panel of antibodies cloned from human patients that specifically recognize the ? or ? form of WTA, and can bind with high affinity to pathogenic wild-type strains of S. aureus bacteria. To investigate how the ?-WTA specific antibodies interact with their target epitope, we determined the X-ray crystal structures of the three ?-WTA specific antibodies, 4462, 4497, and 6078 (Protein Data Bank IDs 6DWI, 6DWA, and 6DW2, respectively), bound to a synthetic WTA epitope. These structures reveal that all three of these antibodies, while utilizing distinct antibody complementarity-determining region sequences and conformations to interact with ?-WTA, fulfill two recognition principles: binding to the ?-GlcNAc pyranose core and triangulation of WTA phosphate residues with polar contacts. These studies reveal the molecular basis for targeting a unique S. aureus cell surface epitope and highlight the power of human patient-based antibody discovery techniques for finding novel pathogen-targeting therapeutics.
Project description:Here we describe a chemical biology strategy performed in Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis to identify MnaA, a 2-epimerase that we demonstrate interconverts UDP-GlcNAc and UDP-ManNAc to modulate substrate levels of TarO and TarA wall teichoic acid (WTA) biosynthesis enzymes. Genetic inactivation of mnaA results in complete loss of WTA and dramatic in vitro ?-lactam hypersensitivity in methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and S. epidermidis (MRSE). Likewise, the ?-lactam antibiotic imipenem exhibits restored bactericidal activity against mnaA mutants in vitro and concomitant efficacy against 2-epimerase defective strains in a mouse thigh model of MRSA and MRSE infection. Interestingly, whereas MnaA serves as the sole 2-epimerase required for WTA biosynthesis in S. epidermidis, MnaA and Cap5P provide compensatory WTA functional roles in S. aureus. We also demonstrate that MnaA and other enzymes of WTA biosynthesis are required for biofilm formation in MRSA and MRSE. We further determine the 1.9Å crystal structure of S. aureus MnaA and identify critical residues for enzymatic dimerization, stability, and substrate binding. Finally, the natural product antibiotic tunicamycin is shown to physically bind MnaA and Cap5P and inhibit 2-epimerase activity, demonstrating that it inhibits a previously unanticipated step in WTA biosynthesis. In summary, MnaA serves as a new Staphylococcal antibiotic target with cognate inhibitors predicted to possess dual therapeutic benefit: as combination agents to restore ?-lactam efficacy against MRSA and MRSE and as non-bioactive prophylactic agents to prevent Staphylococcal biofilm formation.