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Identification of staphylococcal genes involved in resistance to the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37

Zhang, P; (2012) Identification of staphylococcal genes involved in resistance to the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37. Doctoral thesis (PhD), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is well-known for its ability to acquire resistance to a broad range of antimicrobial agents and a limited number of commercially available antibiotics exist that are active against multidrug resistant strains. Antimicrobial peptides have been suggested as promising alternatives to current antimicrobials due to their potent antimicrobial activity against a broad range of microorganisms including multidrug resistant bacteria, and a membrane-lytic mode of action that is thought to have low possibility of inducing bacterial resistance. This study describes the identification of S. aureus genes involved in resistance to the human cationic antimicrobial peptide LL-37, with a particular interest in the effects of a physiological concentration of bicarbonate on the resistance mechanism. Transposon mutagenesis and recombinase-based in vivo expression technology systems were designed to enable genome-wide screening. A S. aureus transposon mutant library was screened for increased resistance to LL-37 in the presence of bicarbonate. Mutants with insertions in yycH and yycI, demonstrated bicarbonate-dependent resistance to LL-37. Both yycH and yycI form part of a predicted operon yycFGHI in S. aureus, and have been shown to be suppressors of an essential two component system YycFG in B. subtilis that regulates cell wall metabolism. The resistance of S. aureus small colony variants (SCVs) to LL-37 was also investigated. SCVs defective in hemB, menD or aroD, demonstrated bicarbonate-dependent resistance to LL-37. Furthermore, SigB (a global regulator) and TcaR (an activator of protein A) were found to exert opposite effects on resistance to LL-37 in the presence of bicarbonate. Strains defective in TcaR showed bicarbonate-dependent resistance to LL-37, interestingly, this resistance was abolished by either deleting sigB or repairing tcaR in these strains. These data suggest that YycFG, SigB, TcaR and the SCV phenotype may play important roles in resistance to LL-37 under in vivo conditions where bicarbonate is present.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: PhD
Title: Identification of staphylococcal genes involved in resistance to the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1380282
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