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Gene Review

femA  -  factor essential for expression of...

Staphylococcus aureus RF122

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Disease relevance of femA


High impact information on femA

  • S. aureus strains carrying mutations in the femA, femB, femAB, or the femAX genes synthesize altered cross-bridges, and each of these strains displayed decreased sorting activity [6].
  • The S. aureus assay uses a femA marker to identify cells as S. aureus and a mecA marker to probe for methicillin resistance [7].
  • Mutations in femA, the gene required for incorporation of the second and third glycines into the cross bridge, were found following PCR amplification and nucleotide sequence analysis [8].
  • Complementation of lysostaphin-resistant mutants with pBBB31, which encodes femA, restored the phenotype of oxacillin resistance and lysostaphin susceptibility [8].
  • This strong conservation of femA suggests an important role for femA in cell wall metabolism and methicillin resistance [1].

Biological context of femA

  • All strains containing an intact mec element in their chromosomes were found to be defective in adhesion to fibrinogen and fibronectin immobilized on polymethylmethacrylate coverslips, regardless of the presence or absence of additional mutations in the femA, femB, or femC gene, known to decrease expression of methicillin resistance in S. aureus [9].
  • Sequencing and analysis of the femA region of mutants isolated by chemical mutagenesis and selection for lysostaphin resistance revealed point mutations leading to the expression of truncated FemA proteins [10].
  • The inactivation of FemB by insertion of Tn551 in the central part of the femB open reading frame was shown to increase susceptibility of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains toward beta-lactam antibiotics to the same extent as did inactivation of femA [11].
  • Strains in which femA was inactivated by insertion of Tn551 into the control region of the femAB operon still expressed about 10% of the protein compared to their parent strains [12].
  • On this basis, a consensus sequence of the femA gene was defined and interspecies variations were exploited to design strategies for staphylococci species-specific identification, including multiplex PCR amplification and a reverse hybridization assay [5].

Anatomical context of femA


Associations of femA with chemical compounds

  • The methicillin susceptibility of this particular strain was presumably due to a spontaneous femA-like mutation [1].
  • Complementation of the femAB null mutant by either femA or femAB resulted in the extension of the cross-bridges to a triglycine or a pentaglycine, respectively [14].
  • Inactivation of either femA or femB causes decreased resistance to methicillin, increased resistance to lysostaphin, and decreased glycine content in the interpeptide chains of peptidoglycan [15].
  • These results and those of previous studies suggest that Triton X might act on factors other than the mecA or femA products [16].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of femA


  1. Survey of the methicillin resistance-associated genes mecA, mecR1-mecI, and femA-femB in clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Hürlimann-Dalel, R.L., Ryffel, C., Kayser, F.H., Berger-Bächi, B. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1992) [Pubmed]
  2. Autolysis of methicillin-resistant and -susceptible Staphylococcus aureus. Gustafson, J.E., Berger-Bächi, B., Strässle, A., Wilkinson, B.J. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1992) [Pubmed]
  3. Real-time PCR can rapidly detect methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus directly from positive blood culture bottles. Paule, S.M., Pasquariello, A.C., Thomson, R.B., Kaul, K.L., Peterson, L.R. Am. J. Clin. Pathol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  4. Rapid detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus directly from sterile or nonsterile clinical samples by a new molecular assay. Francois, P., Pittet, D., Bento, M., Pepey, B., Vaudaux, P., Lew, D., Schrenzel, J. J. Clin. Microbiol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  5. Molecular characterization of femA from Staphylococcus hominis and Staphylococcus saprophyticus, and femA-based discrimination of staphylococcal species. Vannuffel, P., Heusterspreute, M., Bouyer, M., Vandercam, B., Philippe, M., Gala, J.L. Res. Microbiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  6. Anchor structure of staphylococcal surface proteins. III. Role of the FemA, FemB, and FemX factors in anchoring surface proteins to the bacterial cell wall. Ton-That, H., Labischinski, H., Berger-Bächi, B., Schneewind, O. J. Biol. Chem. (1998) [Pubmed]
  7. Integrated portable genetic analysis microsystem for pathogen/infectious disease detection. Lagally, E.T., Scherer, J.R., Blazej, R.G., Toriello, N.M., Diep, B.A., Ramchandani, M., Sensabaugh, G.F., Riley, L.W., Mathies, R.A. Anal. Chem. (2004) [Pubmed]
  8. Mechanism and suppression of lysostaphin resistance in oxacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Climo, M.W., Ehlert, K., Archer, G.L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2001) [Pubmed]
  9. Introduction of the mec element (methicillin resistance) into Staphylococcus aureus alters in vitro functional activities of fibrinogen and fibronectin adhesins. Vaudaux, P.E., Monzillo, V., Francois, P., Lew, D.P., Foster, T.J., Berger-Bächi, B. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1998) [Pubmed]
  10. Specificities of FemA and FemB for different glycine residues: FemB cannot substitute for FemA in staphylococcal peptidoglycan pentaglycine side chain formation. Ehlert, K., Schröder, W., Labischinski, H. J. Bacteriol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  11. Influence of femB on methicillin resistance and peptidoglycan metabolism in Staphylococcus aureus. Henze, U., Sidow, T., Wecke, J., Labischinski, H., Berger-Bächi, B. J. Bacteriol. (1993) [Pubmed]
  12. FemA of Staphylococcus aureus: isolation and immunodetection. Johnson, S., Krüger, D., Labischinski, H. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. (1995) [Pubmed]
  13. Identification of Staphylococcus aureus virulence genes in a murine model of bacteraemia using signature-tagged mutagenesis. Mei, J.M., Nourbakhsh, F., Ford, C.W., Holden, D.W. Mol. Microbiol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  14. Cell wall monoglycine cross-bridges and methicillin hypersusceptibility in a femAB null mutant of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Strandén, A.M., Ehlert, K., Labischinski, H., Berger-Bächi, B. J. Bacteriol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  15. epr, which encodes glycylglycine endopeptidase resistance, is homologous to femAB and affects serine content of peptidoglycan cross bridges in Staphylococcus capitis and Staphylococcus aureus. Sugai, M., Fujiwara, T., Ohta, K., Komatsuzawa, H., Ohara, M., Suginaka, H. J. Bacteriol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  16. Effects of various types of Triton X on the susceptibilities of methicillin-resistant staphylococci to oxacillin. Suzuki, J., Komatsuzawa, H., Sugai, M., Ohta, K., Kozai, K., Nagasaka, N., Suginaka, H. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. (1997) [Pubmed]
  17. Rapid and sensitive detection of the femA gene in staphylococci by enzymatic detection of polymerase chain reaction (ED-PCR): comparison with standard PCR analysis. Kizaki, M., Kobayashi, Y., Ikeda, Y. J. Hosp. Infect. (1994) [Pubmed]
  18. Molecular epidemiology of Staphylococcus spp. contamination in the ward environment: study on mecA and femA genes in methicillin-resistant strains. Ashimoto, A., Hamada, T., Adachi, A., Tanigawa, T., Tanaka, Y. Kansenshogaku Zasshi (1995) [Pubmed]
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