July 19, 2019  |  

Evolution of hypervirulence by a MRSA clone through acquisition of a transposable element.

Staphylococcus aureus has evolved as a pathogen that causes a range of diseases in humans. There are two dominant modes of evolution thought to explain most of the virulence differences between strains. First, virulence genes may be acquired from other organisms. Second, mutations may cause changes in the regulation and expression of genes. Here we describe an evolutionary event in which transposition of an IS element has a direct impact on virulence gene regulation resulting in hypervirulence. Whole-genome analysis of a methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain USA500 revealed acquisition of a transposable element (IS256) that is absent from close relatives of this strain. Of the multiple copies of IS256 found in the USA500 genome, one was inserted in the promoter sequence of repressor of toxins (Rot), a master transcriptional regulator responsible for the expression of virulence factors in S. aureus. We show that insertion into the rot promoter by IS256 results in the derepression of cytotoxin expression and increased virulence. Taken together, this work provides new insight into evolutionary strategies by which S. aureus is able to modify its virulence properties and demonstrates a novel mechanism by which horizontal gene transfer directly impacts virulence through altering toxin regulation. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing reveals the molecular basis of multidrug-resistance in ST772 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of hospital-associated infection, but there is growing awareness of the emergence of multidrug-resistant lineages in community settings around the world. One such lineage is ST772-MRSA-V, which has disseminated globally and is increasingly prevalent in India. Here, we present the complete genome sequence of DAR4145, a strain of the ST772-MRSA-V lineage from India, and investigate its genomic characteristics in regards to antibiotic resistance and virulence factors.Sequencing using single-molecule real-time technology resulted in the assembly of a single continuous chromosomal sequence, which was error-corrected, annotated and compared to nine draft genome assemblies of ST772-MRSA-V from Australia, Malaysia and India. We discovered numerous and redundant resistance genes associated with mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and known core genome mutations that explain the highly antibiotic resistant phenotype of DAR4145. Staphylococcal toxins and superantigens, including the leukotoxin Panton-Valentinin Leukocidin, were predominantly associated with genomic islands and the phage f-IND772PVL. Some of these mobile resistance and virulence factors were variably present in other strains of the ST772-MRSA-V lineage.The genomic characteristics presented here emphasize the contribution of MGEs to the emergence of multidrug-resistant and highly virulent strains of community-associated MRSA. Antibiotic resistance was further augmented by chromosomal mutations and redundancy of resistance genes. The complete genome of DAR4145 provides a valuable resource for future investigations into the global dissemination and phylogeography of ST772-MRSA-V.


July 19, 2019  |  

Parallel epidemics of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300 infection in North and South America.

The community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) epidemic in the United States is attributed to the spread of the USA300 clone. An epidemic of CA-MRSA closely related to USA300 has occurred in northern South America (USA300 Latin-American variant, USA300-LV). Using phylogenomic analysis, we aimed to understand the relationships between these 2 epidemics.We sequenced the genomes of 51 MRSA clinical isolates collected between 1999 and 2012 from the United States, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Phylogenetic analysis was used to infer the relationships and times since the divergence of the major clades.Phylogenetic analyses revealed 2 dominant clades that segregated by geographical region, had a putative common ancestor in 1975, and originated in 1989, in North America, and in 1985, in South America. Emergence of these parallel epidemics coincides with the independent acquisition of the arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME) in North American isolates and a novel copper and mercury resistance (COMER) mobile element in South American isolates.Our results reveal the existence of 2 parallel USA300 epidemics that shared a recent common ancestor. The simultaneous rapid dissemination of these 2 epidemic clades suggests the presence of shared, potentially convergent adaptations that enhance fitness and ability to spread.© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


July 19, 2019  |  

Recurrent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus cutaneous abscesses and selection of reduced chlorhexidine susceptibility during chlorhexidine use.

We describe the selection of reduced chlorhexidine susceptibility during chlorhexidine use in a patient with two episodes of cutaneous USA300 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus abscess. The second clinical isolate harbors a novel plasmid that encodes the QacA efflux pump. Greater use of chlorhexidine for disease prevention warrants surveillance for resistance. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


July 19, 2019  |  

Single-molecule sequencing (PacBio) of the Staphylococcus capitis NRCS-A clone reveals the basis of multidrug resistance and adaptation to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit environment.

The multi-resistant Staphylococcus capitis clone NRCS-A has recently been described as a major pathogen causing nosocomial, late-onset sepsis (LOS) in preterm neonates worldwide. NRCS-A representatives exhibit an atypical antibiotic resistance profile. Here, the complete closed genome (chromosomal and plasmid sequences) of NRCS-A prototype strain CR01 and the draft genomes of three other clinical NRCS-A strains from Australia, Belgium and the United Kingdom are annotated and compared to available non-NRCS-A S. capitis genomes. Our goal was to delineate the uniqueness of the NRCS-A clone with respect to antibiotic resistance, virulence factors and mobile genetic elements. We identified 6 antimicrobial resistance genes, all carried by mobile genetic elements. Previously described virulence genes present in the NRCS-A genomes are shared with the six non-NRCS-A S. capitis genomes. Overall, 63 genes are specific to the NRCS-A lineage, including 28 genes located in the methicillin-resistance cassette SCCmec. Among the 35 remaining genes, 25 are of unknown function, and 9 correspond to an additional type I restriction modification system (n = 3), a cytosine methylation operon (n = 2), and a cluster of genes related to the biosynthesis of teichoic acids (n = 4). Interestingly, a tenth gene corresponds to a resistance determinant for nisin (nsr gene), a bacteriocin secreted by potential NRCS-A strain niche competitors in the gut microbiota. The genomic characteristics presented here emphasize the contribution of mobile genetic elements to the emergence of multidrug resistance in the S. capitis NRCS-A clone. No NRCS-A-specific known virulence determinant was detected, which does not support a role for virulence as a driving force of NRCS-A emergence in NICUs worldwide. However, the presence of a nisin resistance determinant on the NRCS-A chromosome, but not in other S. capitis strains and most coagulase-negative representatives, might confer a competitive advantage to NRCS-A strains during the early steps of gut colonization in neonates. This suggests that the striking adaptation of NRCS-A to the NICU environment might be related to its specific antimicrobial resistance and also to a possible enhanced ability to challenge competing bacteria in its ecological niche.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of Staphylococcus aureus Z172, a vancomycin-intermediate and daptomycin-nonsusceptible methicillin-resistant strain isolated in Taiwan.

We report the complete genome sequence of Z172, a representative strain of sequence type 239-staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec type III (ST239-SCCmec type III) hospital-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Taiwan. Strain Z172 also exhibits a vancomycin-intermediate and daptomycin-nonsusceptible phenotype.


July 7, 2019  |  

Turkey meat as source of CC9/CC398 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in humans?

Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) of clonal complex (CC) 398 were first reported to cause severe infections in humans in 2005 [1]. Direct animal exposure is considered the most effective means of MRSA CC398 transmission from livestock to humans. However, about 20%–38% of MRSA CC398 cases among humans cannot be epidemiologically linked to direct livestock contact, indicating other transmission pathways [2]. As recently reported in this journal by Larsen et al [3], poultry meat may serve as a vehicle for livestock-to-human transmission. Here, we present similar findings for CC9/CC398 MRSA (displaying spa type t899 and related), which shares unique characteristics with human clinical isolates in Denmark as shown by Larsen et al [3], strongly supporting the implication of poultry, especially turkey meat, as the source of CC9/CC398.


July 7, 2019  |  

The recent emergence in hospitals of multidrug-resistant community-associated sequence type 1 and spa type t127 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus investigated by whole-genome sequencing: Implications for screening.

Community-associated spa type t127/t922 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalence increased from 1%-7% in Ireland between 2010-2015. This study tracked the spread of 89 such isolates from June 2013-June 2016. These included 78 healthcare-associated and 11 community associated-MRSA isolates from a prolonged hospital outbreak (H1) (n = 46), 16 other hospitals (n = 28), four other healthcare facilities (n = 4) and community-associated sources (n = 11). Isolates underwent antimicrobial susceptibility testing, DNA microarray profiling and whole-genome sequencing. Minimum spanning trees were generated following core-genome multilocus sequence typing and pairwise single nucleotide variation (SNV) analysis was performed. All isolates were sequence type 1 MRSA staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec type IV (ST1-MRSA-IV) and 76/89 were multidrug-resistant. Fifty isolates, including 40/46 from H1, were high-level mupirocin-resistant, carrying a conjugative 39 kb iles2-encoding plasmid. Two closely related ST1-MRSA-IV strains (I and II) and multiple sporadic strains were identified. Strain I isolates (57/89), including 43/46 H1 and all high-level mupirocin-resistant isolates, exhibited =80 SNVs. Two strain I isolates from separate H1 healthcare workers differed from other H1/strain I isolates by 7-47 and 12-53 SNVs, respectively, indicating healthcare worker involvement in this outbreak. Strain II isolates (19/89), including the remaining H1 isolates, exhibited =127 SNVs. For each strain, the pairwise SNVs exhibited by healthcare-associated and community-associated isolates indicated recent transmission of ST1-MRSA-IV within and between multiple hospitals, healthcare facilities and communities in Ireland. Given the interchange between healthcare-associated and community-associated isolates in hospitals, the risk factors that inform screening for MRSA require revision.


July 7, 2019  |  

Acquisition of virulence factors in livestock-associated MRSA: Lysogenic conversion of CC398 strains by virulence gene-containing phages.

Staphylococcus aureus MRSA strains belonging to the clonal complex 398 (CC398) are highly prevalent in livestock and companion animals but may also cause serious infections in humans. CC398 strains in livestock usually do not possess well-known virulence factors that can be frequently found in other MRSA sequence types (ST). Since many staphylococcal virulence genes are residing on the genomes of temperate phages, the question arises why livestock-associated (LA-) CC398 strains are only rarely infected by those phages. We isolated and characterized four temperate phages (P240, P282, P630 and P1105) containing genes of the immune evasion cluster (IEC) and/or for the Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL). Sequence analysis of the phage genomes showed that they are closely related to known phages and that the DNA region encoding lysis proteins, virulence factors and the integrase exhibits numerous DNA repeats which may facilitate genomic rearrangements. All phages lysed and lysogenized LA-CC398 strains. Integration of IEC phage P282 was detected at ten sites of the hosts’ chromosome. The prophages were stably inherited in LA-CC398 and enterotoxin A, staphylokinase and PVL toxin were produced. The data demonstrate that lysogenic conversion of LA-CC398 strains by virulence-associated phages may occur and that new pathotypes may emerge by this mechanism.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of a community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus hypervirulent strain, USA300-C2406, isolated from a patient with a lethal case of necrotizing pneumonia.

USA300 is a predominant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain causing significant morbidity and mortality. We present here the full annotated genome of a USA300 hypervirulent clinical strain, USA300-C2406, isolated from a patient with a lethal case of necrotizing pneumonia, to gain a better understanding of USA300 hypervirulence. Copyright © 2017 McClure and Zhang.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequences of five representative Staphylococcus aureus ST398 strains from five major sequence heterogeneity groups of a diverse isolate collection.

Staphylococcus aureus sequence type 398 (ST398) is a rapidly emerging livestock-associated strain causing zoonotic disease in humans. The course of pathogen evolution remains unclear, prompting whole-genome comparative studies in attempts to elucidate this issue. We present the full, annotated genomes of five newly isolated representative ST398 strains from five major sequence heterogeneity groups of our diverse isolate collection. Copyright © 2017 McClure and Zhang.


July 7, 2019  |  

Complete genome sequence of the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonizing strain M92.

M92 is a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonizing strain belonging to ST239-MRSA-III. It frequently shows local nasal colonization in our hospital staff, but has never been associated with infection. We sequenced the complete genome of M92, in order to compare it to highly virulent MRSA strains to gain insight into MRSA virulence factors. Copyright © 2017 McClure and Zhang.


July 7, 2019  |  

Staphylococcus aureus CC395 harbours a novel composite staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec element.

CoNS species are likely reservoirs of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCC mec ) in Staphylococcus aureus . S . aureus CC395 is unique as it is capable of exchanging DNA with CoNS via bacteriophages, which are also known to mediate transfer of SCC mec .To analyse the structure and putative origin of the SCC mec element in S . aureus CC395.The only MRSA CC395 strain described in the literature, JS395, was subjected to WGS, and its SCC mec element was compared with those found in CoNS species and other S. aureus strains.JS395 was found to carry an unusually large 88 kb composite SCC mec element. The 33 kb region downstream of orfX harboured a type V SCC mec element and a CRISPR locus, which was most similar to those found in the CoNS species Staphylococcus capitis and Staphylococcus schleiferi . A 55 kb SCC element was identified downstream of the type V SCC mec element and contained a mercury resistance region found in the composite SCC element of some Staphylococcus epidermidis and S . aureus strains, an integrated S . aureus plasmid containing genes for the detoxification of cadmium and arsenic, and a stretch of genes that was partially similar to the type IVg SCC mec element found in a bovine S . aureus strain.The size and complexity of the SCC mec element support the idea that CC395 is highly prone to DNA uptake from CoNS. Thus CC395 may serve as an entry point for SCC mec and SCC structures into S . aureus .


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