A Transposon Screen Identifies Genetic Determinants of Vibrio cholerae Resistance to High-Molecular-Weight Antibiotics
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CitationDörr, Tobias, Fernanda Delgado, Benjamin D. Umans, Matthew A. Gerding, Brigid M. Davis, and Matthew K. Waldor. 2016. “A Transposon Screen Identifies Genetic Determinants of Vibrio Cholerae Resistance to High-Molecular-Weight Antibiotics.” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 60 (8): 4757–63. https://doi.org/10.1128/aac.00576-16.
AbstractGram-negative bacteria are notoriously resistant to a variety of high-molecular-weight antibiotics due to the limited permeability of their outer membrane (OM). The basis of OM barrier function and the genetic factors required for its maintenance remain incompletely understood. Here, we employed transposon insertion sequencing to identify genes required for Vibrio cholerae resistance to vancomycin and bacitracin, antibiotics that are thought to be too large to efficiently penetrate the OM. The screen yielded several genes whose protein products are predicted to participate in processes important for OM barrier functions and for biofilm formation. In addition, we identified a novel factor, designated vigA (for vancomycin inhibits growth), that has not previously been characterized or linked to outer membrane function. The vigA open reading frame (ORF) codes for an inner membrane protein, and in its absence, cells became highly sensitive to glycopeptide antibiotics (vancomycin and ramoplanin) and bacitracin but not to other large antibiotics or detergents. In contrast to wild-type (WT) cells, the vigA mutant was stained with fluorescent vancomycin. These observations suggest that VigA specifically prevents the periplasmic accumulation of certain large antibiotics without exerting a general role in the maintenance of OM integrity. We also observed marked interspecies variability in the susceptibilities of Gram-negative pathogens to glycopeptides and bacitracin. Collectively, our findings suggest that the OM barrier is not absolute but rather depends on specific OM-antibiotic interactions.
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