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Adriana Rosato, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology and Genomic Medicine, Institute for Academic Medicine
Associate Member, Research Institute
Houston Methodist

Research Lab


After receiving her PhD in microbiology from the University of Paris, XI, in Paris, France, Dr. Rosato completed a postdoctoral fellowship in microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Southern California and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She then completed a second fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA, where she was the recipient of a prestigious National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Rosato remained at Virginia Commonwealth University after her postdoctoral training and became an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases. She earned numerous honors while there, including the Faculty Award for Distinguished Research, and three faculty awards from the American Society of Microbiology for her mentoring of minority trainees. Dr. Rosato joined the Center for Molecular and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research at the Houston Methodist Research Institute in 2010.

Description of Research

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), mecA, penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a), drug resistance, molecular biology.

Description of Research
Dr. Rosato's laboratory conducts translational research involving multidrug-resistant bacteria, specifically methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA continues to be a considerable public health concern. In 2005, the bacteria was responsible for an estimated 94,000 life-threatening infections and almost 19,000 deaths in the United States. More recently, MRSA infections are occurring outside of the traditional hospital settings, appearing in community populations without healthcare association or identifiable risk factors for infection. Several studies have shown that rates of community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) infection are rising at an alarming pace. As a result, development of new antibiotics and methods to prevent disease transmission in both clinical and community settings have become more important.

Current studies in Dr. Rosato's laboratory aim to identify the molecular genetic causes of drug resistance in MRSA. Data from these investigations could identify new therapeutic targets and aid in the development of novel antimicrobial agents. Her laboratory uses molecular biology techniques to understand the genetic basis of antimicrobial resistance and resistance gene spread among S. aureus cells. Preliminary studies from the laboratory have suggested that drug resistance in S. aureus is due to the acquisition of a gene (mecA) that encodes a ß-lactam-insensitive target enzyme, penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP2a). This enzyme gives the bacterium the ability to cross-link cell walls and grow while the cells' usual cross-linking enzymes are bound and inactivated by exposure to ß-lactam antibiotics. In addition to the increased expression of mecA, exposure of MRSA strains with low-level resistance to ß-lactam antibiotics also illicits a SOS response that leads to an agr genetically controlled increased mutation rate that helps with the maintenance of cell wall integrity.

Other current studies in the Rosato laboratory are investigating the underlying molecular mechanisms and signal pathways involved in the development of MRSA strains resistant to daptomycin, a new class of antibiotic that is the clinical mainstay of anti-MRSA therapy. Although daptomycin-resistant S. aureus strains are currently rare, they present a very serious clinical dilemma when encountered because optimal therapies remain undefined.

Education & Training

PhD , University of Paris XII
MSc , Institut Pasteur
MS , University of San Luis

Molecular bases determining daptomycin resistance-mediated resensitization to ß-lactams (seesaw effect) in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Renzoni, A, Kelley, WL, Rosato, RR, Martinez, MP, Roch, M, Fatouraei, M, Haeusser, DP, Margolin, W, Fenn, S, Turner, RD, Foster, SJ & Rosato, AE 2017, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 61, no. 1, e01634-16. DOI:

Modeling meropenem treatment, alone and in combination with daptomycin, for KPC-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae strains with unusually low carbapenem MICs
Gagetti, P, Pasteran, F, Martinez, MP, Fatouraei, M, Gu, J, Fernandez, R, Paz, L, Rose, WE, Corso, A & Rosato, AE 2016, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 60, no. 8, pp. 5047-5050. DOI:

The staphylococcus aureus chaperone PrsA is a new auxiliary factor of oxacillin resistance affecting penicillin-binding protein 2A
Jousselin, A, Manzano, C, Biette, A, Reed, P, Pinho, MG, Rosato, AE, Kelley, WL & Renzoni, A 2016, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 60, no. 3, pp. 1656-1666. DOI:

Impact of efflux in the development of multidrug resistance phenotypes in Staphylococcus aureus Clinical microbiology and vaccines
Costa, SS, Viveiros, M, Rosato, AE, Melo-Cristino, J & Couto, I 2015, BMC Microbiology, vol 15, no. 1, 232. DOI:

Iron- and hemin-dependent gene expression of Porphyromonas gingivalis
Anaya-Bergman, C, Rosato, A & Lewis, JP 2015, Molecular Oral Microbiology, vol 30, no. 1, pp. 39-61. DOI:

PBP2a mutations causing high-level ceftaroline resistance in clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates
Long, SW , Olsen, RJ, Mehta, SC, Palzkill, T, Cernoch, PL, Perez, KK, Musick, WL, Rosato, AE & Musser, JM 2014, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 58, no. 11, pp. 6668-6674. DOI:

Ceftaroline is active against heteroresistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clinical strains despite associated mutational mechanisms and intermediate levels of resistance
Fernandez, R, Paz, LI, Rosato, RR & Rosato, AE 2014, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 58, no. 10, pp. 5736-5746. DOI:

Ceftaroline is active against heteroresistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clinical strains despite associated mutational mechanisms and intermediate levels of resistance
Fernandez, R, Paz, LI, Rosato, RR & Rosato, AE 2014, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 58, no. 10, pp. 5736-5746. DOI:

TCA cycle-mediated generation of ROS is a key mediator for HeR-MRSA survival under ß-lactam antibiotic exposure
Rosato, RR, Fernandez, R, Paz, LI, Singh, CR & Rosato, AE 2014, PLoS ONE, vol 9, no. 6, e99605. DOI:

Staphylococcal phenotypes induced by naturally occurring and synthetic membrane-interactive polyphenolic ß-lactam resistance modifiers
Palacios, L, Rosado, H, Micol, V, Rosato, AE, Bernal, P, Arroyo, R, Grounds, H, Anderson, JC, Stabler, RA & Taylor, PW 2014, PLoS ONE, vol 9, no. 4, e93830. DOI:

Identification of point mutations in clinical staphylococcus aureus strains that produce small-colony variants auxotrophic for menadione
Dean, MA, Olsen, RJ, Wesley Long, S, Rosato, AE & Musser, JM 2014, Infection and Immunity, vol 82, no. 4, pp. 1600-1605. DOI:

Exposure of Clinical MRSA Heterogeneous Strains to ß-Lactams Redirects Metabolism to Optimize Energy Production through the TCA Cycle
Keaton, MA, Rosato, RR, Plata, KB, Singh, CR & Rosato, AE 2013, PLoS ONE, vol 8, no. 8, e71025. DOI:

Targeting of PBP1 by ß-lactams Determines recA/SOS Response Activation in Heterogeneous MRSA Clinical Strains
Plata, KB, Riosa, S, Singh, CR, Rosato, RR & Rosato, AE 2013, PLoS ONE, vol 8, no. 4, e61083. DOI:

ß-lactams increase the antibacterial activity of daptomycin against clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains and prevent selection of daptomycin-resistant derivatives
Mehta, S, Singh, C, Plata, KB, Chanda, PK, Paul, A, Riosa, S, Rosato, RR & Rosato, AE 2012, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 56, no. 12, pp. 6192-6200. DOI:

A crossover trial of antimicrobial scrubs to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus burden on healthcare worker apparel
Bearman, GML, Rosato, A, Elam, K, Sanogo, K, Stevens, MP, Sessler, CN & Wenzel, RP 2012, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, vol 33, no. 3, pp. 268-275. DOI:

Thiadiazolidinones: A new class of alanine racemase inhibitors with antimicrobial activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Ciustea, M, Mootien, S, Rosato, AE, Perez, O, Cirillo, P, Yeung, KR, Ledizet, M, Cynamon, MH, Aristoff, PA, Koski, RA, Kaplan, PA & Anthony, KG 2012, Biochemical Pharmacology, vol 83, no. 3, pp. 368-377. DOI:

VraSR two-component regulatory system contributes to mprF-mediated decreased susceptibility to daptomycin in in vivo-selected clinical strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Mehta, S, Cuirolo, AX, Plata, KB, Riosa, S, Silverman, JA, Rubio, A, Rosato, RR & Rosato, AE 2012, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 56, no. 1, pp. 92-102. DOI:

Fate of mutation rate depends on agr locus expression during oxacillin-mediated heterogeneous-homogeneous selection in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clinical strains
Plata, KB, Rosato, RR & Rosato, AE 2011, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, vol 55, no. 7, pp. 3176-3186. DOI:

Oxacillin- and cefoxitin-susceptible meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
Cuirolo, A, Canigia, LF, Gardella, N, Fernández, S, Gutkind, G, Rosato, A & Mollerach, M 2011, International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, vol 37, no. 2, pp. 178-179. DOI:

Nasal carriage of inducible dormant and community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in an ambulatory population of predominantly university students
Bearman, GML, Rosato, AE, Assanasen, S, Kleiner, EA, Elam, K, Haner, C & Wenzel, RP 2010, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, vol 14, no. SUPPL. 3. DOI: