The development of vancomycin (VCM) resistance in Staphylococcus aureus threatens global health. Studies of the VCM-resistance mechanism and alternative therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. We mutagenized S. aureus laboratory strains and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) with ethyl methanesulfonate, and isolated mutants that exhibited high resistance to VCM (minimum inhibitory concentration=32μg/ml). These VCM-resistant strains were sensitive to linezolid and rifampicin, and partly to arbekacin and daptomycin. Beta-lactams had synergistic effects with VCM against these mutants. VCM-resistant strains exhibited a 2-fold increase in the cell wall thickness. Several genes were commonly mutated among the highly VCM-resistant mutants. These findings suggest that MRSA has a potential to develop high VCM resistance with cell wall thickening by the accumulation of mutations.
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