In vitro selection and characterization of ceftobiprole-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Ritu Banerjee, Michael Gretes, Li Basuino, Natalie Strynadka, Henry F. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is resistant to β-lactam antibiotics because it expresses penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a), a low-affinity penicillin-binding protein. An investigational broadspectrum cephalosporin, ceftobiprole (BPR), binds PBP2a with high affinity and is active against MRSA. We hypothesized that BPR resistance could be mediated by mutations in mecA, the gene encoding PBP2a. We selected BPR-resistant mutants by passage in high-volume broth cultures containing subinhibitory concentrations of BPR. We used strain COLnex (which lacks chromosomal mecA) transformed with pAW8 (a plasmid vector only), pYK20 (a plasmid carrying wild-type mecA), or pYK21 (a plasmid carrying a mutant mecA gene corresponding to five PBP2a mutations). All strains became resistant to BPR by day 9 of passaging, but MICs continued to increase until day 21. MICs increased 256-fold (from 1 to 256 μg/ml) for pAW8, 32-fold (from 4 to 128 μg/ml) for pYK20, and 8-fold (from 16 to 128 μg/ml) for pYK21. Strains carrying wild-type or mutant mecA developed six (pYK20 transformants) or four (pYK21 transformants) new mutations in mecA. The transformation of COLnex with a mecA mutant plasmid conferred BPR resistance, and the loss of mecA converted resistant strains into susceptible ones. Modeling studies predicted that several of the mecA mutations altered BPR binding; other mutations may have mediated resistance by influencing interactions with other proteins. Multiple mecA mutations were associated with BPR resistance in MRSA. BPR resistance also developed in the strain lacking mecA, suggesting a role for chromosomal genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2089-2096
Number of pages8
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'In vitro selection and characterization of ceftobiprole-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this