Targeting MgrA-mediated virulence regulation in Staphylococcus aureus.
Sun F., Zhou L., Zhao B-C., Deng X., Cho H., Yi C., Jian X., Song C-X., Luan C-H., Bae T., Li Z., He C.
Increasing antibiotic resistance in human pathogens necessitates the development of new approaches against infections. Targeting virulence regulation at the transcriptional level represents a promising strategy yet to be explored. A global transcriptional regulator, MgrA in Staphylococcus aureus, was identified previously as a key virulence determinant. We have performed a fluorescence anisotropy (FA)-based high-throughput screen that identified 5, 5-methylenedisalicylic acid (MDSA), which blocks the DNA binding of MgrA. MDSA represses the expression of α-toxin that is up-regulated by MgrA and activates the transcription of protein A, a gene down-regulated by MgrA. MDSA alters bacterial antibiotic susceptibilities via an MgrA-dependent pathway. A mouse model of infection indicated that MDSA could attenuate S. aureus virulence. This work is a rare demonstration of utilizing small molecules to block protein-DNA interaction, thus tuning important biological regulation at the transcriptional level.