Epigallocatechin gallate induces upregulation of the two-component VraSR system by evoking a cell wall stress response in Staphylococcus aureus

Oren Levinger, Tamar Bikels-Goshen, Elad Landau, Merav Fichman, Roni Shapira*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

We previously found that a short exposure of Staphylococcus aureus to subinhibitory (SI) doses of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) results in increased cell wall thickness, adaptation, and enhanced tolerance to cell-wall-targeted antibiotics. In this study, the response to EGCG of sigB and vraSR transcription factor mutants was characterized. We show that in contrast to the results observed for wild-type (WT) strains, an S. aureus 315 vraSR null mutant exposed to SI doses of EGCG did not exhibit increased tolerance to EGCG and oxacillin. A diminished increase in tolerance to ampicillin (from 16-fold to 4-fold) and no change in the magnitude of resistance to vancomycin were observed. Preexposure to EGCG enhanced the tolerance of wild-type and sigB null mutant cells to lysostaphin, but this enhancement was much weaker in the vraSR null mutant. Marked upregulation (about 60-fold) of vraR and upregulation of the peptidoglycan biosynthesis-associated genes murA, murF, and pbp2 (2-, 5-, and 6-fold, respectively) in response to SI doses of EGCG were determined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRTPCR). EGCG also induced the promoter of sas016 (encoding a cell wall stress protein of unknown function which is not induced in vraSR null mutants) in a concentration-dependent manner, showing kinetics comparable to those of cell-wall-targeting antibiotics. Taken together, our results suggest that the two-component VraSR system is involved in modulating the cell response to SI doses of EGCG.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7954-7959
Number of pages6
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume78
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2012

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