Old Drugs To Treat Resistant Bugs: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates with mecC Are Susceptible to a Combination of Penicillin and Clavulanic Acid

Xiaoliang Ba, Ewan M. Harrison, Andrew L. Lovering, Nicholas Gleadall, Ruth Zadoks, Julian Parkhill, Sharon J. Peacock, Matthew T. G. Holden, Gavin K. Paterson, Mark A. Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

β-Lactam resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is mediated by the expression of an alternative penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a) (encoded by mecA) with a low affinity for β-lactam antibiotics. Recently, a novel variant of mecA, known as mecC, was identified in MRSA isolates from both humans and animals. In this study, we demonstrate that mecC-encoded PBP2c does not mediate resistance to penicillin. Rather, broad-spectrum β-lactam resistance in MRSA strains carrying mecC (mecC-MRSA strains) is mediated by a combination of both PBP2c and the distinct β-lactamase encoded by the blaZ gene of strain LGA251 (blaZLGA251), which is part of mecC-encoding staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type XI. We further demonstrate that mecC-MRSA strains are susceptible to the combination of penicillin and the β-lactam inhibitor clavulanic acid in vitro and that the same combination is effective in vivo for the treatment of experimental mecC-MRSA infection in wax moth larvae. Thus, we demonstrate how the distinct biological differences between mecA- and mecC-encoded PBP2a and PBP2c have the potential to be exploited as a novel approach for the treatment of mecC-MRSA infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7396-7404
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Volume59
Issue number12
Early online date21 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

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