• Characterisation of MRSA from Malta and the description of a Maltese epidemic MRSA strain.

      Scicluna, E A; Shore, A C; Thürmer, A; Ehricht, R; Slickers, P; Borg, M A; Coleman, D C; Monecke, S; Infection Control Unit, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta. (2010-02)
      Malta has one of the highest prevalence rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Europe. However, only limited typing data are currently available. In order to address this situation, 45 MRSA isolates from the Mater Dei Hospital in Msida, Malta, were characterised using DNA microarrays. The most common strain was ST22-MRSA-IV (UK-EMRSA-15, 30 isolates). Sporadic strains included ST36-MRSA-II (UK-EMRSA-16, two isolates), PVL-positive ST80-MRSA-IV (European Clone, one isolate), ST228-MRSA-I (Italian Clone/South German Epidemic Strain, one isolate) and ST239-MRSA-III (Vienna/Hungarian/Brazilian Epidemic Strain, one isolate). Ten MRSA isolates belonged to a clonal complex (CC) 5/ST149, spa type t002 strain. This strain harboured an SCCmec IV element (mecA, delta mecR, ugpQ, dcs, ccrA2 and ccrB2), as well as novel alleles of ccrA/B and the fusidic acid resistance element Q6GD50 (previously described in the sequenced strain MSSA476, BX571857.1:SAS0043). It also carried the gene for enterotoxin A (sea) and the egc enterotoxin locus, as well as (in nine out of ten isolates) genes encoding the toxic shock syndrome toxin (tst1) and enterotoxins C and L (sec, sel). While the presence of the other MRSA strains suggests foreign importation due to travel between Malta and other European countries, the CC5/t002 strain appears, so far, to be restricted to Malta.
    • Comparison of two DNA microarrays for detection of plasmid-mediated antimicrobial resistance and virulence factor genes in clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae and non-Enterobacteriaceae.

      Walsh, Fiona; Cooke, Niamh M; Smith, Stephen G; Moran, Gary P; Cooke, Fiona J; Ivens, Alasdair; Wain, John; Rogers, Thomas R; Department of Clinical Microbiology, Sir Patrick Dun Translational Research Laboratory, School of Medicine, University of Dublin, Trinity College, St James's Hospital Campus, Dublin 8, Ireland. fiona1walsh@gmail.com (2010-06)
      A DNA microarray was developed to detect plasmid-mediated antimicrobial resistance (AR) and virulence factor (VF) genes in clinical isolates of Enterobacteriaceae and non-Enterobacteriaceae. The array was validated with the following bacterial species: Escherichiacoli (n=17); Klebsiellapneumoniae (n=3); Enterobacter spp. (n=6); Acinetobacter genospecies 3 (n=1); Acinetobacterbaumannii (n=1); Pseudomonasaeruginosa (n=2); and Stenotrophomonasmaltophilia (n=2). The AR gene profiles of these isolates were identified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The DNA microarray consisted of 155 and 133 AR and VF gene probes, respectively. Results were compared with the commercially available Identibac AMR-ve Array Tube. Hybridisation results indicated that there was excellent correlation between PCR and array results for AR and VF genes. Genes conferring resistance to each antibiotic class were identified by the DNA array. Unusual resistance genes were also identified, such as bla(SHV-5) in a bla(OXA-23)-positive carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii. The phylogenetic group of each E. coli isolate was verified by the array. These data demonstrate that it is possible to screen simultaneously for all important classes of mobile AR and VF genes in Enterobacteriaceae and non-Enterobacteriaceae whilst also assigning a correct phylogenetic group to E. coli isolates. Therefore, it is feasible to test clinical Gram-negative bacteria for all known AR genes and to provide important information regarding pathogenicity simultaneously.
    • Detection of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec type XI carrying highly divergent mecA, mecI, mecR1, blaZ, and ccr genes in human clinical isolates of clonal complex 130 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

      Shore, Anna C; Deasy, Emily C; Slickers, Peter; Brennan, Grainne; O'Connell, Brian; Monecke, Stefan; Ehricht, Ralf; Coleman, David C; Microbiology Research Unit, Dublin Dental University Hospital, University of Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. (2011-08)
      Methicillin resistance in staphylococci is mediated by penicillin binding protein 2a (PBP 2a), encoded by mecA on mobile staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) elements. In this study, two clonal complex 130 (CC130) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates from patients in Irish hospitals were identified that were phenotypically PBP 2a positive but lacked mecA by conventional PCR and by DNA microarray screening. The isolates were identified as methicillin-susceptible S. aureus using the GeneXpert real-time PCR assay. Whole-genome sequencing of one isolate (M10/0061) revealed a 30-kb SCCmec element encoding a class E mec complex with highly divergent blaZ-mecA-mecR1-mecI, a type 8 cassette chromosome recombinase (ccr) complex consisting of ccrA1-ccrB3, an arsenic resistance operon, and flanking direct repeats (DRs). The SCCmec element was almost identical to that of SCCmec type XI (SCCmec XI) identified by the Sanger Institute in sequence type 425 bovine MRSA strain LGA251 listed on the website of the International Working Group on the Classification of Staphylococcal Cassette Chromosome Elements. The open reading frames (ORFs) identified within SCCmec XI of M10/0061 exhibited 21 to 93% amino acid identity to ORFs in GenBank. A third DR was identified ca. 3 kb downstream of SCCmec XI, indicating the presence of a possible SCC remnant. SCCmec XI was also identified in the second CC130 MRSA isolate by PCR and sequencing. The CC130 MRSA isolates may be of animal origin as previously reported CC130 S. aureus strains were predominantly from bovine sources. The highly divergent nature of SCCmec XI relative to other SCCmec elements indicates that it may have originated in another taxon.
    • A field guide to pandemic, epidemic and sporadic clones of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

      Monecke, Stefan; Coombs, Geoffrey; Shore, Anna C; Coleman, David C; Akpaka, Patrick; Borg, Michael; Chow, Henry; Ip, Margaret; Jatzwauk, Lutz; Jonas, Daniel; et al. (2011-04)
      In recent years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have become a truly global challenge. In addition to the long-known healthcare-associated clones, novel strains have also emerged outside of the hospital settings, in the community as well as in livestock. The emergence and spread of virulent clones expressing Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is an additional cause for concern. In order to provide an overview of pandemic, epidemic and sporadic strains, more than 3,000 clinical and veterinary isolates of MRSA mainly from Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Malta, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago as well as some reference strains from the United States have been genotyped by DNA microarray analysis. This technique allowed the assignment of the MRSA isolates to 34 distinct lineages which can be clearly defined based on non-mobile genes. The results were in accordance with data from multilocus sequence typing. More than 100 different strains were distinguished based on affiliation to these lineages, SCCmec type and the presence or absence of PVL. These strains are described here mainly with regard to clinically relevant antimicrobial resistance- and virulence-associated markers, but also in relation to epidemiology and geographic distribution. The findings of the study show a high level of biodiversity among MRSA, especially among strains harbouring SCCmec IV and V elements. The data also indicate a high rate of genetic recombination in MRSA involving SCC elements, bacteriophages or other mobile genetic elements and large-scale chromosomal replacements.