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Sci Rep. 2018 Jun 29;8(1):9850. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-28283-3.

Exposure of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus to Low Levels of the Antibacterial THAM-3ΦG Generates a Small Colony Drug-Resistant Phenotype.

Author information

1
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America.
2
Dental and Craniofacial Trauma Research and Tissue Regeneration Directorate, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, JBSA Fort Sam Houston, Texas, United States of America.
3
Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, United States of America.
4
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States of America. mteintze@montana.edu.

Abstract

This study investigated resistance against trishexylaminomelamine trisphenylguanide (THAM-3ΦG), a novel antibacterial compound with selective microbicidal activity against Staphylococcus aureus. Resistance development was examined by culturing methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) with sub-lethal doses of THAM-3ΦG. This quickly resulted in the formation of normal (WT) and small colonies (SC) of S. aureus exhibiting minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) 2× and 4× greater than the original MIC. Continuous cell passaging with increasing concentrations of THAM-3ΦG resulted in an exclusively SC phenotype with MIC >64 mg/L. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics and multivariate statistical analysis revealed three distinct metabolic profiles for THAM-3ΦG treated WT, untreated WT, and SC (both treated and untreated). The metabolome patterns of the SC sample groups match those reported for other small colony variants (SCV) of S. aureus. Supplementation of the SCV with menadione resulted in almost complete recovery of growth rate. This auxotrophism was corroborated by NMR analysis revealing the absence of menaquinone production in the SCV. In conclusion, MRSA rapidly acquires resistance to THAM-3ΦG through selection of a slow-growing menaquinone auxotroph. This study highlights the importance of evaluating and monitoring resistance to novel antibacterials during development.

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