Genetic adaptation of a mevalonate pathway deficient mutant in Staphylococcus aureus

Sebastian Reichert, Patrick Ebner, Eve Julie Bonetti, Arif Luqman, Mulugeta Nega, Jacques Schrenzel, Cathrin Spröer, Boyke Bunk, Jörg Overmann, Peter Sass, Patrice François, Friedrich Götz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In this study we addressed the question how a mevalonate (MVA)-auxotrophic Staphylococcus aureusΔmvaS mutant can revert to prototrophy. This mutant couldn't grow in the absence of MVA. However, after a long lag-phase of 4-6 days the mutant adapted from auxotrophic to prototrophic phenotype. During that time, it acquired two point mutations: One mutation in the coding region of the regulator gene spx, which resulted in an amino acid exchange that decreased Spx function. The other mutation in the upstream-element within the core-promoter of the mevalonolactone lactonase gene drp35. This mutation led to an increased expression of drp35. In repeated experiments the mutations always occurred in spx and drp35 and in the same order. The first detectable mutation appeared in spx and allowed slight growth; the second mutation, in drp35, increased growth further. Phenotypical characterizations of the mutant showed that small amounts of the lipid-carrier undecaprenol are synthesized, despite the lack of mvaS. The growth of the adapted clone, ΔmvaSad, indicates that the mutations reawake a rescue bypass. We think that this bypass enters the MVA pathway at the stage of MVA, because blocking the pathway downstream of MVA led to growth arrest of the mutant. In addition, the lactonase Drp35 is able to convert mevalonolactone to MVA. Summarized, we describe here a mutation-based two-step adaptation process that allows resuscitation of growth of the ΔmvaS mutant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1539
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberJUL
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Drp35
  • Isoprenoids
  • Lactonase
  • Mevalonate pathway
  • Mutation
  • Spx


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