Molecular Epidemiology of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus hominis (MRSHo): Low Clonality and Reservoirs of SCCmec Structural Elements

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Background: Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus hominis (MRSHo) are important human pathogens in immunocompromised patients. However, little is known regarding its population structure and staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec) content. Methodology/Principal Findings: To assess the population structure and the SCCmec content of S. hominis, 34 MRSHo and 11 methicillin-susceptible S. hominis (MSSHo) from neutropenic patients collected over a 3-year period were studied. The genetic backgrounds of S. hominis isolates were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and SCCmec types were determined by PCR. Cassette chromosome recombinases (ccr) were characterized by PCR and ccrB sequencing. The 34 S. hominis isolates were classified into as many as 28 types and 32 subtypes (SID = 99.82%); clonal dissemination was occasionally observed. The main SCCmec structures identified were SCCmec type VI (4B) (20%), SCCmec VIII (4A) (15%), and a new SCCmec composed of mec complex A in association with ccrAB1 (38%); 27% of the isolates harbored non-typeable SCCmec. Overall, a high prevalence of mec complex A (73.5%), ccrAB1 (50%) and ccrAB4 (44%) were found. Importantly, ccrB1 and ccrB4 from both MRSHo and MSSHo showed a high nucleotide sequence homology with those found in S. aureus SCCmec I, VI and VIII respectively (>95%). Conclusions/Significance: The S. hominis population showed a limited clonality and a low genetic diversity in the allotypes of ccr and classes of mec complex. Moreover, our data suggest that S. hominis might have been a privileged source of mec complex A, ccrB1 and ccrB4, for the assembly of primordial SCCmec types.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)e21940
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

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