Teixobactin is a new antimicrobial of significant interest. It is active against a number of multidrug-resistant pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis, with no reported mechanisms of teixobactin resistance. However, historically, mechanisms of resistance always exist and arise upon introduction of a new antimicrobial into a clinical setting. Therefore, for teixobactin to remain effective long term, we need to understand how mechanisms of resistance could develop. Here we demonstrate that E. faecalis shows a remarkable intrinsic tolerance to high concentrations of teixobactin. This is of critical importance, as antimicrobial tolerance has been shown to precede the development of antimicrobial resistance. To identify potential pathways responsible for this tolerance, we determined the genomewide expression profile of E. faecalis strain JH2-2 in response to teixobactin using RNA sequencing. A total of 573 genes were differentially expressed (2.0-fold log2 change in expression) in response to teixobactin, with genes involved in cell wall biogenesis and division and transport/binding being among those that were the most upregulated. Comparative analyses of E. faecalis cell wall-targeting antimicrobial transcriptomes identified CroRS, LiaRS, and YclRK to be important two-component regulators of antimicrobial-mediated stress. Further investigation of CroRS demonstrated that deletion of croRS abolished tolerance to teixobactin and to other cell wall-targeting antimicrobials. This highlights the crucial role of CroRS in controlling the molecular response to teixobactin.IMPORTANCE Teixobactin is a new antimicrobial with no known mechanisms of resistance. Understanding how resistance could develop will be crucial to the success and longevity of teixobactin as a new potent antimicrobial. Antimicrobial tolerance has been shown to facilitate the development of resistance, and we show that E. faecalis is intrinsically tolerant to teixobactin at high concentrations. We subsequently chose E. faecalis as a model to elucidate the molecular mechanism underpinning teixobactin tolerance and how this may contribute to the development of teixobactin resistance.
Keywords: CroRS; Enterococcus; RNA sequencing; antimicrobial resistance; antimicrobial tolerance; mechanisms of resistance; teixobactin.
Copyright © 2019 Darnell et al.