Despite the importance of phages in driving horizontal gene transfer (HGT) among pathogenic bacteria, the underlying molecular mechanisms mediating phage adsorption to S. aureus are still unclear. Phage ϕ11 is a siphovirus with a high transducing efficiency. Here, we show that the tail protein Gp45 localized within the ϕ11 baseplate. Phage ϕ11 was efficiently neutralized by anti-Gp45 serum and its adsorption to host cells was inhibited by recombinant Gp45 in a dose-dependent manner. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that biotin-labelled Gp45 efficiently stained the wild-type S. aureus cell but not the double knockout mutant ΔtarM/S, which lacks both α- and β-O-GlcNAc residues on its wall teichoic acids (WTAs). Additionally, adsorption assays indicate that GlcNAc residues on WTAs and O-acetyl groups at the 6-position of muramic acid residues in peptidoglycan are essential components of the ϕ11 receptor. The elucidation of Gp45-involved molecular interactions not only broadens our understanding of siphovirus-mediated HGT, but also lays the groundwork for the development of sensitive affinity-based diagnostics and therapeutics for S. aureus infection.