Leucyl-tRNA Synthetase Inhibitor, D-Norvaline, in Combination with Oxacillin, Is Effective against Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Hong Ju Lee, Byungchan Kim, Suhyun Kim, Do Hyun Cho, Heeju Jung, Wooseong Kim, Yun Gon Kim, Jae Seok Kim, Hwang Soo Joo, Sang Ho Lee, Yung Hun Yang

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2 Scopus citations


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a pathogenic bacterium that causes severe diseases in humans. For decades, MRSA has acquired substantial resistance against conventional antibiotics through regulatory adaptation, thereby posing a challenge for treating MRSA infection. One of the emerging strategies to combat MRSA is the combinatory use of antibacterial agents. Based on the dramatic change in phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) composition of MRSA in previous results, this study investigated branched-chain amino acid derivatives (precursors of fatty acid synthesis of cell membrane) and discovered the antimicrobial potency of D-norvaline. The compound, which can act synergistically with oxacillin, is among the three leucine-tRNA synthetase inhibitors with high potency to inhibit MRSA cell growth and biofilm formation. PLFA analysis and membrane properties revealed that D-norvaline decreased the overall amount of PLFA, increasing the fluidity and decreasing the hydrophobicity of the bacterial cell membrane. Additionally, we observed genetic differences to explore the response to D-norvaline. Furthermore, deletion mutants and clinically isolated MRSA strains were treated with D-norvaline. The study revealed that D-norvaline, with low concentrations of oxacillin, was effective in killing several MRSA strains. In summary, our findings provide a new combination of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase inhibitor D-norvaline and oxacillin, which is effective against MRSA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number683
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by the Research Program to solve social issues with the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT [grant number 2017M3A9E4077234], National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) [grant numbers NRF-2022R1A2C2003138 and NRF-2019M3E6A1103979]. W.K. was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant (2020R1C1C1008842, 2018R1A5A2025286).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • D-norvaline
  • MRSA
  • aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase inhibitor
  • drug combination therapy


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