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Penicillin binding protein 2a (PBP2a)-dependent resistance to β-lactam antibiotics in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is regulated by the activity of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle via a poorly understood mechanism. We report that mutations in sucC and sucD, but not other TCA cycle enzymes, negatively impact β-lactam resistance without changing PBP2a expression. Increased intracellular levels of succinyl coenzyme A (succinyl-CoA) in the sucC mutant significantly perturbed lysine succinylation in the MRSA proteome. Suppressor mutations in sucA or sucB, responsible for succinyl-CoA biosynthesis, reversed sucC mutant phenotypes. The major autolysin (Atl) was the most succinylated protein in the proteome, and increased Atl succinylation in the sucC mutant was associated with loss of autolytic activity. Although PBP2a and PBP2 were also among the most succinylated proteins in the MRSA proteome, peptidoglycan architecture and cross-linking were unchanged in the sucC mutant. These data reveal that perturbation of the MRSA succinylome impacts two interconnected cell wall phenotypes, leading to repression of autolytic activity and increased susceptibility to β-lactam antibiotics. IMPORTANCE mecA-dependent methicillin resistance in MRSA is subject to regulation by numerous accessory factors involved in cell wall biosynthesis, nucleotide signaling, and central metabolism. Here, we report that mutations in the TCA cycle gene, sucC, increased susceptibility to β-lactam antibiotics and was accompanied by significant accumulation of succinyl-CoA, which in turn perturbed lysine succinylation in the proteome. Although cell wall structure and cross-linking were unchanged, significantly increased succinylation of the major autolysin Atl, which was the most succinylated protein in the proteome, was accompanied by near complete repression of autolytic activity. These findings link central metabolism and levels of succinyl-CoA to the regulation of β-lactam antibiotic resistance in MRSA through succinylome-mediated control of two interlinked cell wall phenotypes. Drug-mediated interference of the SucCD-controlled succinylome may help overcome β-lactam resistance.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.