J Antimicrob Chemother. 2021 Oct 7:dkab356. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkab356. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: The cyclic anionic lipopeptide daptomycin is used in the treatment of severe infections caused by Gram-positive pathogens, including MRSA. Daptomycin resistance, although rare, often results in treatment failure. Paradoxically, in MRSA, daptomycin resistance is usually accompanied by a concomitant decrease in β-lactam resistance in what is known as the 'see-saw effect'. This resensitization is extensively used for the treatment of MRSA infections, by combining daptomycin and a β-lactam antibiotic, such as oxacillin.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed: (i) to investigate the combined effects of daptomycin and oxacillin on the lipid composition of the cellular membrane of both daptomycin-resistant and -susceptible MRSA strains; and (ii) to assess the involvement of the post-translocational protein PrsA, which plays an important role in oxacillin resistance in MRSA, in membrane lipid composition and remodelling during daptomycin resistance/β-lactam sensitization.
RESULTS: The combination of microbiological and biochemical studies, with fluorescence microscopy using lipid probes, showed that the lipid composition and surface charge of the daptomycin-resistant cells exposed to daptomycin/oxacillin were dependent on antibiotic concentration and directly associated with PrsA, which influenced cardiolipin remodelling/relocation.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings show that PrsA, in addition to its post-transcriptional role in the maturation of PBP 2a, is a key mediator of cell membrane remodelling connected to the see-saw effect and may have a key role in the resensitization of daptomycin-resistant strains to β-lactams, such as oxacillin.