Increased amounts of a novel penicillin-binding protein in a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus exposed to nafcillin

J Clin Invest. 1985 Jul;76(1):325-31. doi: 10.1172/JCI111965.


In addition to the four typical penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), a strain of heterogeneously methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus produced an extra 78-kD PBP (PBP 2a) that had a low affinity for nafcillin and penicillin. Addition of nafcillin to cultures of this strain caused a rapid increase in the amount of this PBP in cell membranes. This increase occurred at subinhibitory concentrations of drug within minutes of exposure, and was blocked by inhibitors of protein and RNA synthesis. This suggests that the synthesis of PBP 2a can be stimulated by exposure to beta-lactam antibiotics. This process may, in part, explain the heterogeneity in methicillin-resistant S. aureus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Carboxypeptidases / metabolism*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Hexosyltransferases*
  • Membranes / metabolism
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Weight
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase / metabolism*
  • Nafcillin / pharmacology
  • Penicillin Resistance*
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Peptidyl Transferases*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Nafcillin
  • Peptidyl Transferases
  • Hexosyltransferases
  • Carboxypeptidases
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase