β-lactam antibiotics induce the SOS response and horizontal transfer of virulence factors in Staphylococcus aureus

Elisa Maiques, Carles Úbeda, Susana Campoy, Noelia Salvador, Íñigo Lasa, Richard P. Novick, Jordi Barbé, José R. Penadés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

171 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Antibiotics that interfere with DNA replication and cell viability activate the SOS response. In Staphylococcus aureus, the antibiotic-induced SOS response promotes replication and high-frequency horizontal transfer of pathogenicity island-encoded virulence factors. Here we report that β-lactams induce a bona fide SOS response in S. aureus, characterized by the activation of the RecA and LexA proteins, the two master regulators of the SOS response. Moreover, we show that β-lactams are capable of triggering staphylococcal prophage induction in S. aureus lysogens. Consequently, and as previously described for SOS induction by commonly used fluoroquinolone antibiotics, β-lactam- mediated phage induction also resulted in replication and high-frequency transfer of the staphylococcal pathogenicity islands, showing that such antibiotics may have the unintended consequence of promoting the spread of bacterial virulence factors. Copyright © 2006, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2726-2729
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume188
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006

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