Structural analysis of the antibiotic-recognition mechanism of MarR proteins

Yu Ming Chang, Cammy K.M. Chen, Tzu Ping Ko, Masatoshi Weiting Chang-Chien, Andrew H.J. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Staphylococci cause a wide range of diseases in humans and animals, and the proteins of the multiple antibiotic-resistance repressor (MarR) family in staphylococci function as regulators of protein expression and confer resistance to multiple antibiotics. Diverse mechanisms such as biofilm formation, drug transport, drug modification etc. are associated with this resistance. In this study, crystal structures of the Staphylococcus aureus MarR homologue SAR2349 and its complex with salicylate and the aminoglycoside antibiotic kanamycin have been determined. The structure of SAR2349 shows for the first time that a MarR protein can interact directly with different classes of ligands simultaneously and highlights the importance and versatility of regulatory systems in bacterial antibiotic resistance. The three-dimensional structures of TcaR from S. epidermidis in complexes with chloramphenicol and with the aminoglycoside antibiotic streptomycin were also investigated. The crystal structures of the TcaR and SAR2349 complexes illustrate a general antibiotic-regulated resistance mechanism that may extend to other MarR proteins. To reveal the regulatory mechanism of the MarR proteins, the protein structures of this family were further compared and three possible mechanisms of regulation are proposed. These results are of general interest because they reveal a remarkably broad spectrum of ligand-binding modes of the multifunctional MarR proteins. This finding provides further understanding of antimicrobial resistance mechanisms in pathogens and strategies to develop new therapies against pathogens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1149
Number of pages12
JournalActa Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • antibiotics
  • biofilms
  • DNA binding
  • multiple drug resistance
  • transcription regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology


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