Role of SCCmec type in resistance to the synergistic activity of oxacillin and cefoxitin in MRSA

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β-lactam antibiotics target penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs) preventing peptidoglycan synthesis and this inhibition is circumvented in methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains through the expression of an additional PBP, named PBP2A. This enzyme is encoded by the mecA gene located within the Staphylococcal Chromosome Cassette mec (SCCmec) mobile genetic element, of which there are 12 types described to date. Previous investigations aimed at analysing the synergistic activity of two β-lactams, oxacillin and cefoxitin, found that SCCmec type IV community-acquired MRSA strains exhibited increased susceptibility to oxacillin in the presence of cefoxitin, while hospital-acquired MRSA strains were unaffected. However, it is not clear if these differences in β-lactam resistance are indeed a consequence of the presence of the different SCCmec types. To address this question, we have exchanged the SCCmec type I in COL (HA-MRSA) for the SCCmec type IV from MW2 (CA-MRSA). This exchange did not decrease the resistance of COL against oxacillin and cefoxitin, as observed in MW2, indicating that genetic features residing outside of the SCCmec element are likely to be responsible for the discrepancy in oxacillin and cefoxitin synergy against these MRSA strains.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6154
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


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