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An aroD Ochre Mutation Results in a Staphylococcus aureus Small Colony Variant That Can Undergo Phenotypic Switching via Two Alternative Mechanisms

Zhang, P; Wright, JA; Osman, AA; Nair, SP; (2017) An aroD Ochre Mutation Results in a Staphylococcus aureus Small Colony Variant That Can Undergo Phenotypic Switching via Two Alternative Mechanisms. Frontiers in Microbiology , 8 , Article 1001. 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01001. Green open access

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Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus can undergo phenotypic switching between a normal colony phenotype (NCP) and a small colony variant (SCV). The SCV phenotype confers increased antibiotic resistance and the capacity to persist within human tissues and cells, and because these cells can revert back to the NCP they cause chronic and/or recurrent infections that are very difficult to treat. A complete picture of the genetic events that can lead to phenotypic switching in S. aureus is currently lacking. We describe the selection of an SCV with a previously unreported genetic alteration leading to an ochre mutation of aroD. In addition to the known mechanisms of phenotypic switching between the SCV and the NCP we describe a previously unreported mechanism involving tRNA ochre suppressors arising. The ochre suppressor strains had wild-type growth rates and restored antibiotic sensitivity, similar to the wild-type strain. However, whilst they had increased virulence compared to the SCV parent strain, their virulence was not restored to that of the NCP parental strain. These findings establish that phenotypic switching between the NCP and SCV states can give rise to strains with different pathogenic potential.

Type: Article
Title: An aroD Ochre Mutation Results in a Staphylococcus aureus Small Colony Variant That Can Undergo Phenotypic Switching via Two Alternative Mechanisms
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01001
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2017.01001
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus, small colony variants, ochre mutation, phenotypic switching, aroD
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Eastman Dental Institute > Microbial Diseases
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1560972
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