High prevalence of mec complex C and ccrC is independent of SCCmec type V in Staphylococcus haemolyticus

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Staphylococcus haemolyticus is one of the most clinically relevant coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), particularly in immunocompromised patients; however, little is known regarding its molecular epidemiology. In this work, we characterized the genetic background and the SCCmec region of 36 methicillin-resistant S. haemolyticus (MRSHae) and 10 methicillin-susceptible S. haemolyticus (MSSHae) collected from neutropenic patients in Tunisia between 2002 and 2004. The molecular characterization of MRSHae by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) showed that the great majority of the isolates (77.8%) belonged to only four types. SCCmec typing by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern hybridization showed that isolates belonging to each PFGE type could carry either one or two SCCmec types. SCCmec V was the most common, but mec complex C was frequently associated to ccr allotypes other than ccrC. The mec complex class C was predominant in MRSHae (47%) and ccrC was predominant among both methicillin-resistant and -susceptible isolates (31 and 50%, respectively). Interestingly, one half (50%) of the MRSHae isolates analyzed lacked the known ccr complexes (ccrAB and ccrC), although they carried the mecA. Conversely, all MSSHae carrying a ccrC complex were multidrug-resistant, although they lack the mecA. The results suggest that ccrC and mec complex C are frequent and may exist autonomously and independently of SCCmec type V in S. haemolyticus. Moreover, the data obtained suggest that small chromosomal rearrangements promoting the loss or structural variation of mec and ccr complex appear to occur frequently, which probably provide S. haemolyticus with a specialized means for SCCmec trapping and/or diversification.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)605-614
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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