Revisiting the Role of VraTSR in Staphylococcus aureus Response to Cell Wall-Targeting Antibiotics

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Exposure of Staphylococcus aureus to cell wall inhibitors leads to the activation of the VraTSR three-component sensory regulatory system. This system is composed of VraS, a membrane histidine kinase; VraR, its cognate response regulator, and VraT, a protein required for the full activity of VraTSR. The exact function of VraT remains mostly uncharacterized, although it has been proposed to detect the unknown stimulus sensed by the VraTSR system. Here, we elucidate the topology of VraT, showing that its C-terminal domain is extracellular. We also demonstrate that the signal sensed by VraTSR is not an intermediate in the peptidoglycan synthesis pathway, as previously suggested. Instead, the specific inhibition of the penicillin-binding protein (PBP)2 leads to strong activation of the system. IMPORTANCE The Gram-positive bacterial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is currently the second most frequent cause of global deaths associated with antibiotic resistance. Its response to cell wall-targeting antibiotics requires the VraTSR three-component system, which senses cell wall damage. Here, we show that the signal sensed by VraTSR is not an intermediate in the peptidoglycan synthesis pathway, as previously suggested. Instead, the specific inhibition of the penicillin-binding protein (PBP)2, the major peptidoglycan synthase in S. aureus, leads to strong activation of the system. Identifying the exact cell wall damage signal is key to fully understanding the response of S. aureus to cell wall-targeting antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume204
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • antibiotic resistance
  • peptidoglycan synthesis
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • two-component system

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