Document Type


Publication Date



Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


The staphylococcal accessory regulator (sarA) plays an important role in Staphylococcus aureus infections including osteomyelitis, and the msaABCR operon has been implicated as an important factor in modulating expression of sarA. Thus, we investigated the contribution of msaABCR to sarA-associated phenotypes in the S. aureus clinical isolates LAC and UAMS-1. Mutation of msaABCR resulted in reduced production of SarA and a reduced capacity to form a biofilm in both strains. Biofilm formation was enhanced in a LAC msa mutant by restoring the production of SarA, but this was not true in a UAMS-1 msa mutant. Similarly, extracellular protease production was increased in a LAC msa mutant but not a UAMS-1 msa mutant. This difference was reflected in the accumulation and distribution of secreted virulence factors and in the impact of extracellular proteases on biofilm formation in a LAC msa mutant. Most importantly, it was reflected in the relative impact of mutating msa as assessed in a murine osteomyelitis model, which had a significant impact in LAC but not in UAMS-1. In contrast, mutation of sarA had a greater impact on all of these in vitro and in vivo phenotypes by comparison to mutation of msaABCR, and it did so in both LAC and UAMS-1. These results suggest that, at least in osteomyelitis, it would be therapeutically preferable to target sarA rather than msaABCR to achieve the desired clinical result, particularly in the context of divergent clinical isolates of S. aureus.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: "The Impact of msaABCR on sarA-Associated Phenotypes is Different in Divergent Clinical Isolates of Staphylococcus aureus," which has been published in final form at 10.1128/IAI.00530-19.

Publication Title

Infection and Immunity

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