Transcriptomic analysis of stress response to novel antimicrobial coatings in a clinical MRSA strain

Ankita Vaishampayan, Rameez Ahmed, Olaf Wagner, Anne de Jong, Rainer Haag, Jan Kok, Elisabeth Grohmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Multi-drug resistant pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) cause nosocomial infections that can have deleterious effects on human health. Thus, it is imperative to find solutions to treat these detrimental infections as well as to control their spread. We tested the effect of two different antimicrobial materials, functionalised graphene oxide (GOX), and AGXX® coated on cellulose fibres, on the growth and transcriptome of the clinical MRSA strain S. aureus 04-02981. In addition, we investigated the effect of a third material as a combination of GOX and AGXX® fibres on S. aureus 04-02981. Standard plate count assay revealed that the combination of fibres, GOX-AGXX® inhibited the growth of S. aureus 04-02981 by 99.98%. To assess the effect of these antimicrobials on the transcriptome of our strain, cultures of S. aureus 04-02981 were incubated with GOX, AGXX®, or GOX-AGXX® fibres for different time periods and then subjected to RNA-sequencing. Uncoated cellulose fibres were used as a negative control. The antimicrobial fibres had a huge impact on the transcriptome of S. aureus 04-02981 affecting the expression of 2650 genes. Primarily genes related to biofilm formation and virulence (such as agr, sarA, and those of the two-component system SaeRS), and genes crucial for survival in biofilms (like arginine metabolism arc genes) were repressed. In contrast, the expression of siderophore biosynthesis genes (sbn) was induced, a probable response to stress imposed by the antimicrobials and the conditions of iron-deficiency. Genes associated with potassium transport, intracellular survival and pathogenesis (kdp) were also differentially expressed. Our data suggest that the combination of GOX and AGXX® acts as an efficient antimicrobial against S. aureus 04-02981. Thus, these materials are potential candidates for applications in antimicrobial surface coatings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111578
JournalMaterials science & engineering c-Biomimetic and supramolecular systems
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2021

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