New TRR261-publication! The hypersusceptible antibiotic screening strain Staphylococcus aureus SG511-Berlin harbors multiple mutations in regulatory genes
The genetic plasticity of Staphylococcus aureus has facilitated the evolution of many virulent and drug-resistant strains. Here we present the sequence of the 2.74 Mbp genome of S. aureus SG511-Berlin, which is frequently used for antibiotic screening. Although S. aureus SG511 and the related methicillin-resistant S. aureus MRSA252 share a high similarity in their core genomes, indicated by an average nucleotide identity (ANI) of 99.83%, the accessory genomes of these strains differed, as nearly no mobile elements and resistance determinants were identified in the genome of S. aureus SG511. Susceptibility testing showed that S. aureus SG511 was susceptible to most of the tested antibiotics of different classes. Intriguingly, and in contrast to the standard laboratory strain S. aureus HG001, S. aureus SG511 was even hyper-susceptible towards cell wall and membrane targeting agents, with the exception of the MurA-inhibitor fosfomycin. In depth comparative genome analysis revealed that, in addition to the loss of function mutation in the antibiotic sensor histidine kinase gene graS, further mutations had occurred in the lysyltransferase gene mprF, the structural giant protein gene ebh, and the regulator genes codY and saeR, which might contribute to antibiotic susceptibility. In addition, an insertion element in agrC abolishes Agr-activity in S. aureus SG511, and the spa and sarS genes, which encode the surface protein SpA and its transcriptional regulator, were deleted. Thus, the lack of mobile resistance genes together with multiple mutations affecting cell envelope morphology may render S. aureus SG511 hyper-susceptible towards most cell wall targeting agents.
Congratulations to Alina Dietrich, Ursula Steffens, Peter Sass, Gabriele Bierbaum!