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  1. Dozois, Charles M. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Gram-positive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an emerging cause of hospital-associated urinary tract infections (UTI), especially in catheterized individuals. Despite being rare, MRSA UTI are prone to potentially life-threatening exacerbations such as bacteremia that can be refractory to routine antibiotic therapy. To delineate the molecular mechanisms governing MRSA urinary pathogenesis, we exposed three S. aureus clinical isolates, including two MRSA strains, to human urine for 2 h and analyzed virulence characteristics and changes in gene expression. The in vitro virulence assays showed that human urine rapidly alters adherence to human bladder epithelial cells and fibronectin, hemolysis of sheep red blood cells (RBCs), and surface hydrophobicity in a staphylococcal strain-specific manner. In addition, transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis of uropathogenic strain MRSA-1369 revealed that 2-h-long exposure to human urine alters MRSA transcriptome by modifying expression of genes encoding enzymes catalyzing metabolic pathways, virulence factors, and transcriptional regulators. In summary, our results provide important insights into how human urine specifically and rapidly alters MRSA physiology and facilitates MRSA survival in the nutrient-limiting and hostile urinary microenvironment. IMPORTANCE Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an uncommon cause of urinary tract infections (UTI) in the general population. However, it is important to understand MRSA pathophysiologymore »in the urinary tract because isolation of MRSA in urine samples often precedes potentially life-threatening MRSA bacteremia. In this report, we describe how exposure to human urine alters MRSA global gene expression and virulence. We hypothesize that these alterations may aid MRSA in acclimating to the nutrient-limiting, immunologically hostile conditions within the urinary tract leading to MRSA UTI.« less
  2. Abstract Determining how adaptive combinations of traits arose requires understanding the prevalence and scope of genetic constraints. Frequently observed phenotypic correlations between plant growth, defenses, and/or reproductive timing have led researchers to suggest that pleiotropy or strong genetic linkage between variants affecting independent traits is pervasive. Alternatively, these correlations could arise via independent mutations in different genes for each trait and extensive correlational selection. Here we evaluate these alternatives by conducting a quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping experiment involving a cross between 2 populations of common monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus) that differ in growth rate as well as total concentration and arsenal composition of plant defense compounds, phenylpropanoid glycosides (PPGs). We find no evidence that pleiotropy underlies correlations between defense and growth rate. However, there is a strong genetic correlation between levels of total PPGs and flowering time that is largely attributable to a single shared QTL. While this result suggests a role for pleiotropy/close linkage, several other QTLs also contribute to variation in total PPGs. Additionally, divergent PPG arsenals are influenced by a number of smaller-effect QTLs that each underlie variation in 1 or 2 PPGs. This result indicates that chemical defense arsenals can be finely adapted to biotic environmentsmore »despite sharing a common biochemical precursor. Together, our results show correlations between defense and life-history traits are influenced by pleiotropy or genetic linkage, but genetic constraints may have limited impact on future evolutionary responses, as a substantial proportion of variation in each trait is controlled by independent loci.« less