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Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2013 Jun;69(Pt 6):1138-49. doi: 10.1107/S0907444913007117. Epub 2013 May 16.

Structural analysis of the antibiotic-recognition mechanism of MarR proteins.

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  • 1Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan.


Staphylococci cause a wide range of diseases in humans and animals, and the proteins of the multiple antibiotic-resistance repressor (MarR) family in staphylococci function as regulators of protein expression and confer resistance to multiple antibiotics. Diverse mechanisms such as biofilm formation, drug transport, drug modification etc. are associated with this resistance. In this study, crystal structures of the Staphylococcus aureus MarR homologue SAR2349 and its complex with salicylate and the aminoglycoside antibiotic kanamycin have been determined. The structure of SAR2349 shows for the first time that a MarR protein can interact directly with different classes of ligands simultaneously and highlights the importance and versatility of regulatory systems in bacterial antibiotic resistance. The three-dimensional structures of TcaR from S. epidermidis in complexes with chloramphenicol and with the aminoglycoside antibiotic streptomycin were also investigated. The crystal structures of the TcaR and SAR2349 complexes illustrate a general antibiotic-regulated resistance mechanism that may extend to other MarR proteins. To reveal the regulatory mechanism of the MarR proteins, the protein structures of this family were further compared and three possible mechanisms of regulation are proposed. These results are of general interest because they reveal a remarkably broad spectrum of ligand-binding modes of the multifunctional MarR proteins. This finding provides further understanding of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in pathogens and strategies to develop new therapies against pathogens.


DNA binding; antibiotics; biofilms; multiple drug resistance; transcription regulation

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