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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Heterogeneity of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strains at a German University Hospital implicates the circulating-strain pool as a potential source of emerging methicillin-resistant S. aureus clones.

Recently, we demonstrated rapid dissemination of different methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clones at the Institute for Microbiology at the University of Magdeburg (B. Ghebremedhin, W. König, and B. König, Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 24:388-398, 2005). The majority of them harbored the readily transmissible mec cassette type IV. Thus, theoretically, methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) might capture the mecA gene from circulating MRSA, or MRSA strains might catch mobile toxin genes from MSSA. Therefore, we characterized MSSA strains circulating at the University Hospital in Magdeburg. Among a total of 84 MSSA strains under study, about 40% possessed the tst (toxic shock syndrome toxin) gene and up to four additional enterotoxin genes. tst-positive MSSA strains belonged to all known agr groups (I to IV) and to 14 different spa types (t008, t012, t015, t019, t024, t056, t065, t127, t133, t162, t271, t287, t399, and t400), and they were classified by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) as ST1, ST8, ST30, ST39, ST45, ST101, ST121, ST395, and ST426. In contrast, simultaneously circulating MRSA strains (n = 24) harbored in general two or three genes of the enterotoxin gene cluster, and the tst-positive MRSA isolates belonged to the well-known epidemic types ST22, ST45, and ST228 and were classified as spa types t001, t028, and t032. From our results, one may conclude that the pool of circulating MSSA strains is an important parameter with regard to the epidemiology of hospital- and community-acquired MRSA clones and their potential virulence.[1]


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