Editor: Anthony George
Toxin–antitoxin (TA) systems are prevalent and transcribed in clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Article first published online: 13 JUL 2011
© 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Letters
Volume 322, Issue 1, pages 41–50, September 2011
How to Cite
Williams, J. J., Halvorsen, E. M., Dwyer, E. M., DiFazio, R. M. and Hergenrother, P. J. (2011), Toxin–antitoxin (TA) systems are prevalent and transcribed in clinical isolates of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 322: 41–50. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2011.02330.x
- Issue published online: 22 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 13 JUL 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 9 JUN 2011 10:32AM EST
- Received 19 April 2011; revised 27 May 2011; accepted 3 June 2011., Final version published online 13 July 2011.
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The percentage of bacterial infections refractory to standard antibiotic treatments is steadily increasing. Among the most problematic hospital and community-acquired pathogens are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). One novel strategy proposed for treating infections of multidrug-resistant bacteria is the activation of latent toxins of toxin–antitoxin (TA) protein complexes residing within bacteria; however, the prevalence and identity of TA systems in clinical isolates of MRSA and PA has not been defined. We isolated DNA from 78 MRSA and 42 PA clinical isolates and used PCR to probe for the presence of various TA loci. Our results showed that the genes for homologs of the mazEF TA system in MRSA and the relBE and higBA TA systems in PA were present in 100% of the respective strains. Additionally, reverse transcriptase PCR analysis revealed that these transcripts are produced in the clinical isolates. These results indicate that TA genes are prevalent and transcribed within MRSA and PA and suggest that activation of the toxin proteins could be an effective antibacterial strategy for these pathogens.