Staphylococcus aureus surface attachment selectively influences tolerance against charged antibiotics

Andrew Hayles, Richard Bright, Ngoc Huu Nguyen, Vi Khanh Truong, Jitraporn Vongsvivut, Jonathan Wood, Stephen P. Kidd, Krasimir Vasilev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The threat of infection during implant placement surgery remains a considerable burden for millions of patients worldwide. To combat this threat, clinicians employ a range of anti-infective strategies and practices. One of the most common interventions is the use of prophylactic antibiotic treatment during implant placement surgery. However, these practices can be detrimental by promoting the resilience of biofilm-forming bacteria and enabling them to persist throughout treatment and re-emerge later, causing a life-threatening infection. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to elucidate the events occurring during the initial stages of bacterial surface attachment and determine whether any biological processes may be targeted to improve surgical outcomes. Using gene expression analysis, we identified a cellular mechanism of S. aureus which modifies its cell surface charge following attachment to a medical grade titanium surface. We determined the upregulation of two systems involved in the d-alanylation of teichoic acids and the lysylation of phosphatidylglycerol. We supported these molecular findings by utilizing synchrotron-sourced attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy to analyze the biomolecular properties of the S. aureus cell surface following attachment. As a direct consequence, S. aureus quickly becomes substantially more tolerant to the positively charged vancomycin, but not the negatively charged cefazolin. The present study can assist clinicians in rationally selecting the most potent antibiotic in prophylaxis treatments. Furthermore, it highlights a cellular process that could potentially be targeted by novel technologies and strategies to improve the outcome of antibiotic prophylaxis during implant placement surgery. 

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: The antibiotic tolerance of bacteria in biofilm is a well-established phenomenon. However, the physiological adaptations employed by Staphylococcus aureus to increase its antibiotic tolerance during the early stages of surface attachment are poorly understood. Using multiple techniques, including gene expression analysis and synchrotron-sourced Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy, we generated insights into the physiological response of S. aureus following attachment to a medical grade titanium surface. We showed that this phenotypic transition enables S. aureus to better tolerate the positively charged vancomycin, but not the negatively charged cefazolin. These findings shed light on the antibiotic tolerance mechanisms employed by S. aureus to survive prophylactically administered antibiotics and can help clinicians to protect patients from infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-381
Number of pages13
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Volume175
Early online date21 Dec 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Adhesion
  • Biofilm
  • Biomaterials
  • Implant infection
  • Teichoic acids
  • Vancomycin

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Staphylococcus aureus surface attachment selectively influences tolerance against charged antibiotics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this