• Characterization of a novel arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME) and staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec composite island with significant homology to Staphylococcus epidermidis ACME type II in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus genotype ST22-MRSA-IV.

      Shore, Anna C; Rossney, Angela S; Brennan, Orla M; Kinnevey, Peter M; Humphreys, Hilary; Sullivan, Derek J; Goering, Richard V; Ehricht, Ralf; Monecke, Stefan; Coleman, David C; et al. (2011-05)
      The arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME) is prevalent among methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates of sequence type 8 (ST8) and staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec) type IVa (USA300) (ST8-MRSA-IVa isolates), and evidence suggests that ACME enhances the ability of ST8-MRSA-IVa to grow and survive on its host. ACME has been identified in a small number of isolates belonging to other MRSA clones but is widespread among coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS). This study reports the first description of ACME in two distinct strains of the pandemic ST22-MRSA-IV clone. A total of 238 MRSA isolates recovered in Ireland between 1971 and 2008 were investigated for ACME using a DNA microarray. Twenty-three isolates (9.7%) were ACME positive, and all were either MRSA genotype ST8-MRSA-IVa (7/23, 30%) or MRSA genotype ST22-MRSA-IV (16/23, 70%). Whole-genome sequencing and comprehensive molecular characterization revealed the presence of a novel 46-kb ACME and staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec) composite island (ACME/SCCmec-CI) in ST22-MRSA-IVh isolates (n=15). This ACME/SCCmec-CI consists of a 12-kb DNA region previously identified in ACME type II in S. epidermidis ATCC 12228, a truncated copy of the J1 region of SCCmec type I, and a complete SCCmec type IVh element. The composite island has a novel genetic organization, with ACME located within orfX and SCCmec located downstream of ACME. One PVL locus-positive ST22-MRSA-IVa isolate carried ACME located downstream of SCCmec type IVa, as previously described in ST8-MRSA-IVa. These results suggest that ACME has been acquired by ST22-MRSA-IV on two independent occasions. At least one of these instances may have involved horizontal transfer and recombination events between MRSA and CoNS. The presence of ACME may enhance dissemination of ST22-MRSA-IV, an already successful MRSA clone.
    • 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.
    • DNA microarray genotyping and virulence and antimicrobial resistance gene profiling of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream isolates from renal patients.

      McNicholas, Sinead; Shore, Anna C; Coleman, David C; Humphreys, Hilary; Hughes, Deirdre Fitzgerald; Department of Clinical Microbiology, RCSI Education and Research Centre, Smurfit Building, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland. (2011-12)
      Thirty-six methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream isolates from renal patients were genetically characterized by DNA microarray analysis and spa typing. The isolates were highly clonal, belonging mainly to ST22-MRSA-IV. The immune evasion and enterotoxin gene clusters were found in 29/36 (80%) and 33/36 (92%) isolates, respectively.
    • DNA microarray profiling of a diverse collection of nosocomial methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus isolates assigns the majority to the correct sequence type and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type and results in the subsequent identification and characterization of novel SCCmec-SCCM1 composite islands.

      Shore, Anna C; Brennan, Orla M; Deasy, Emily C; Rossney, Angela S; Kinnevey, Peter M; Ehricht, Ralf; Monecke, Stefan; Coleman, David C; Microbiology Research Unit, Dublin Dental University Hospital, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. (Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 2012-10)
      One hundred seventy-five isolates representative of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clones that predominated in Irish hospitals between 1971 and 2004 and that previously underwent multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing were characterized by spa typing (175 isolates) and DNA microarray profiling (107 isolates). The isolates belonged to 26 sequence type (ST)-SCCmec types and subtypes and 35 spa types. The array assigned all isolates to the correct MLST clonal complex (CC), and 94% (100/107) were assigned an ST, with 98% (98/100) correlating with MLST. The array assigned all isolates to the correct SCCmec type, but subtyping of only some SCCmec elements was possible. Additional SCCmec/SCC genes or DNA sequence variation not detected by SCCmec typing was detected by array profiling, including the SCC-fusidic acid resistance determinant Q6GD50/fusC. Novel SCCmec/SCC composite islands (CIs) were detected among CC8 isolates and comprised SCCmec IIA-IIE, IVE, IVF, or IVg and a ccrAB4-SCC element with 99% DNA sequence identity to SCC(M1) from ST8/t024-MRSA, SCCmec VIII, and SCC-CI in Staphylococcus epidermidis. The array showed that the majority of isolates harbored one or more superantigen (94%; 100/107) and immune evasion cluster (91%; 97/107) genes. Apart from fusidic acid and trimethoprim resistance, the correlation between isolate antimicrobial resistance phenotype and the presence of specific resistance genes was ≥97%. Array profiling allowed high-throughput, accurate assignment of MRSA to CCs/STs and SCCmec types and provided further evidence of the diversity of SCCmec/SCC. In most cases, array profiling can accurately predict the resistance phenotype of an isolate.
    • 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.
    • Genome-wide gene expression profiling and a forward genetic screen show that differential expression of the sodium ion transporter Ena21 contributes to the differential tolerance of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis to osmotic stress.

      Enjalbert, Brice; Moran, Gary P; Vaughan, Claire; Yeomans, Tim; Maccallum, Donna M; Quinn, Janet; Coleman, David C; Brown, Alistair J P; Sullivan, Derek J; Aberdeen Fungal Group, School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK. (2009-04)
      Candida albicans is more pathogenic than Candida dubliniensis. However, this disparity in virulence is surprising given the high level of sequence conservation and the wide range of phenotypic traits shared by these two species. Increased sensitivity to environmental stresses has been suggested to be a possible contributory factor to the lower virulence of C. dubliniensis. In this study, we investigated, in the first comparison of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis by transcriptional profiling, global gene expression in each species when grown under conditions in which the two species exhibit differential stress tolerance. The profiles revealed similar core responses to stresses in both species, but differences in the amplitude of the general transcriptional responses to thermal, salt and oxidative stress. Differences in the regulation of specific stress genes were observed between the two species. In particular, ENA21, encoding a sodium ion transporter, was strongly induced in C. albicans but not in C. dubliniensis. In addition, ENA21 was identified in a forward genetic screen for C. albicans genomic sequences that increase salt tolerance in C. dubliniensis. Introduction of a single copy of CaENA21 was subsequently shown to be sufficient to confer salt tolerance upon C. dubliniensis.