An Enterotoxin-Bearing Pathogenicity Island in Staphylococcus epidermidis.
ABSTRACT: Cocolonization of human mucosal surfaces causes frequent encounters between various staphylococcal species, creating opportunities for the horizontal acquisition of mobile genetic elements. The majority of Staphylococcus aureus toxins and virulence factors are encoded on S. aureus pathogenicity islands (SaPIs). Horizontal movement of SaPIs between S. aureus strains plays a role in the evolution of virulent clinical isolates. Although there have been reports of the production of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1), enterotoxin, and other superantigens by coagulase-negative staphylococci, no associated pathogenicity islands have been found in the genome of Staphylococcus epidermidis, a generally less virulent relative of S. aureus. We show here the first evidence of a composite S. epidermidis pathogenicity island (SePI), the product of multiple insertions in the genome of a clinical isolate. The taxonomic placement of S. epidermidis strain FRI909 was confirmed by a number of biochemical tests and multilocus sequence typing. The genome sequence of this strain was analyzed for other unique gene clusters and their locations. This pathogenicity island encodes and expresses staphylococcal enterotoxin C3 (SEC3) and staphylococcal enterotoxin-like toxin L (SElL), as confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunoblotting. We present here an initial characterization of this novel pathogenicity island, and we establish that it is stable, expresses enterotoxins, and is not obviously transmissible by phage transduction. We also describe the genome sequence, excision, replication, and packaging of a novel bacteriophage in S. epidermidis FRI909, as well as attempts to mobilize the SePI element by this phage.
Project description:Staphylococcus epidermidis is a leading cause of nosocomial infections, majorly resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics, and may transfer several mobile genetic elements among the members of its own species, as well as to Staphylococcus aureus; however, a genetic exchange from S. aureus to S. epidermidis remains controversial. We recently identified two pathogenic clinical strains of S. epidermidis that produce a staphylococcal enterotoxin C3-like (SEC) similar to that by S. aureus pathogenicity islands. This study aimed to determine the genetic environment of the SEC-coding sequence and to identify the mobile genetic elements. Whole-genome sequencing and annotation of the S. epidermidis strains were performed using Illumina technology and a bioinformatics pipeline for assembly, which provided evidence that the SEC-coding sequences were located in a composite pathogenicity island that was previously described in the S. epidermidis strain FRI909, called SePI-1/SeCI-1, with 83.8-89.7% nucleotide similarity. Various other plasmids were identified, particularly p_3_95 and p_4_95, which carry antibiotic resistance genes (hsrA and dfrG, respectively), and share homologies with SAP085A and pUSA04-2-SUR11, two plasmids described in S. aureus. Eventually, one complete prophage was identified, ?SE90, sharing 30 out of 52 coding sequences with the Acinetobacter phage vB_AbaM_IME200. Thus, the SePI-1/SeCI-1 pathogenicity island was identified in two pathogenic strains of S. epidermidis that produced a SEC enterotoxin causing septic shock. These findings suggest the existence of in vivo genetic exchange from S. aureus to S. epidermidis.
Project description:The only known elements encoding enterotoxins in coagulase-negative staphylococci are composite Staphylococcus epidermidis pathogenicity islands (SePIs), including SePI and S. epidermidis composite insertion (SeCI) regions. We investigated 1545 Staphylococcus spp. genomes using whole-genome MLST, and queried them for genes of staphylococcal enterotoxin family and for 29 ORFs identified in prototype SePI from S. epidermidis FRI909. Enterotoxin-encoding genes were identified in 97% of Staphylococcus aureus genomes, in one Staphylococcus argenteus genome and in nine S. epidermidis genomes. All enterotoxigenic S. epidermidis strains carried composite SePI, encoding sec and sel enterotoxin genes, and were assigned to a discrete wgMLST cluster also containing genomes with incomplete islands located in the same region as complete SePI in enterotoxigenic strains. Staphylococcus epidermidis strains without SeCI and SePI genes, and strains with complete SeCI and no SePI genes were identified but no strains were found to carry only SePI and not SeCI genes. The systematic differences between SePI and SeCI regions imply a lineage-specific pattern of inheritance and support independent acquisition of the two elements in S. epidermidis. We provided evidence of reticulate evolution of mobile elements that contain elements with different putative ancestry, including composite SePI that contains genes found in other coagulase-negative staphylococci (SeCI), as well as in S. aureus (SePI-like elements). We conclude that SePI-associated elements present in nonenterotoxigenic S. epidermidis represent a scaffold associated with acquisition of virulence-associated genes. Gene exchange between S. aureus and S. epidermidis may promote emergence of new pathogenic S. epidermidis clones.
Project description:We have previously shown that potentially pathogenic isolates of Staphylococcus epidermidis occur at high incidence in ready-to-eat food. Now, within 164 samples of ready-to-eat meat products we identified 32 S. epidermidis isolates. In 8 isolates we detected the genes encoding for staphylococcal enterotoxins, but in 7 S. epidermidis isolates these genes were not stable over passages. One isolate designated 4S was shown to stably harbour sec and sel genes. In the genome sequence of S. epidermidis 4S we identified 21,426-bp region flanked by direct-repeats, encompassing sec and sel genes, corresponding to the previously described composite staphylococcal pathogenicity island (SePI) in S. epidermidis FRI909. Alignment of S. epidermidis 4S and S. epidermidis FRI909 SePIs revealed 6 nucleotide mismatches located in 5 of the total of 29 ORFs. Genomic location of S. epidermidis 4S SePI was the same as in FRI909. S. epidermidis 4S is a single locus variant of ST561, being genetically different from FRI909. SECepi was secreted by S. epidermidis 4S to BHI broth ranging from 14 to almost 36?g/mL, to milk ranging from 6 to 9ng/mL, to beef meat juice from 2 to 3?g/mL and to pork meat juice from 1 to 2?g/mL after 24 and 48h of cultivation, respectively. We provide the first evidence that S. epidermidis occurring in food bears an element encoding an orthologue to Staphylococcus aureus SEC, and that SECepi can be produced in microbial broth, milk and meat juices. Regarding that only enterotoxins produced by S. aureus are officially tracked in food in EU, the ability to produce enterotoxin by S. epidermidis pose real risk for food safety.
Project description:The opportunistic pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis represent major causes of severe nosocomial infection, and are associated with high levels of mortality and morbidity worldwide. These species are both common commensals on the human skin and in the nasal pharynx, but are genetically distinct, differing at 24% average nucleotide divergence in 1,478 core genes. To better understand the genome dynamics of these ecologically similar staphylococcal species, we carried out a comparative analysis of 324 S. aureus and S. epidermidis genomes, including 83 novel S. epidermidis sequences. A reference pan-genome approach and whole genome multilocus-sequence typing revealed that around half of the genome was shared between the species. Based on a BratNextGen analysis, homologous recombination was found to have impacted on 40% of the core genes in S. epidermidis, but on only 24% of the core genes in S. aureus. Homologous recombination between the species is rare, with a maximum of nine gene alleles shared between any two S. epidermidis and S. aureus isolates. In contrast, there was considerable interspecies admixture of mobile elements, in particular genes associated with the SaPIn1 pathogenicity island, metal detoxification, and the methicillin-resistance island SCCmec. Our data and analysis provide a context for considering the nature of recombinational boundaries between S. aureus and S. epidermidis and, the selective forces that influence realized recombination between these species.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic pathogen and the major causative agent of numerous hospital- and community-acquired infections. Staphylococcus epidermidis has emerged as a causative agent of infections often associated with implanted medical devices. We have sequenced the approximately 2.8-Mb genome of S. aureus COL, an early methicillin-resistant isolate, and the approximately 2.6-Mb genome of S. epidermidis RP62a, a methicillin-resistant biofilm isolate. Comparative analysis of these and other staphylococcal genomes was used to explore the evolution of virulence and resistance between these two species. The S. aureus and S. epidermidis genomes are syntenic throughout their lengths and share a core set of 1,681 open reading frames. Genome islands in nonsyntenic regions are the primary source of variations in pathogenicity and resistance. Gene transfer between staphylococci and low-GC-content gram-positive bacteria appears to have shaped their virulence and resistance profiles. Integrated plasmids in S. epidermidis carry genes encoding resistance to cadmium and species-specific LPXTG surface proteins. A novel genome island encodes multiple phenol-soluble modulins, a potential S. epidermidis virulence factor. S. epidermidis contains the cap operon, encoding the polyglutamate capsule, a major virulence factor in Bacillus anthracis. Additional phenotypic differences are likely the result of single nucleotide polymorphisms, which are most numerous in cell envelope proteins. Overall differences in pathogenicity can be attributed to genome islands in S. aureus which encode enterotoxins, exotoxins, leukocidins, and leukotoxins not found in S. epidermidis.
Project description:Staphylococcal superantigen-carrying pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) are discrete, chromosomally integrated units of approximately 15 kilobases that are induced by helper phages to excise and replicate. SaPI DNA is then efficiently encapsidated in phage-like infectious particles, leading to extremely high frequencies of intra- as well as intergeneric transfer. In the absence of helper phage lytic growth, the island is maintained in a quiescent prophage-like state by a global repressor, Stl, which controls expression of most of the SaPI genes. Here we show that SaPI derepression is effected by a specific, non-essential phage protein that binds to Stl, disrupting the Stl-DNA complex and thereby initiating the excision-replication-packaging cycle of the island. Because SaPIs require phage proteins to be packaged, this strategy assures that SaPIs will be transferred once induced. Several different SaPIs are induced by helper phage 80alpha and, in each case, the SaPI commandeers a different non-essential phage protein for its derepression. The highly specific interactions between different SaPI repressors and helper-phage-encoded antirepressors represent a remarkable evolutionary adaptation involved in pathogenicity island mobilization.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) are mobile elements that are induced by a helper bacteriophage to excise and replicate and to be encapsidated in phage-like particles smaller than those of the helper, leading to high-frequency transfer. SaPI mobilization is helper phage specific; only certain SaPIs can be mobilized by a particular helper phage. Staphylococcal phage 80? can mobilize every SaPI tested thus far, including SaPI1, SaPI2 and SaPIbov1. Phage 80, on the other hand, cannot mobilize SaPI1, and ?11 mobilizes only SaPIbov1. In order to better understand the relationship between SaPIs and their helper phages, the genomes of phages 80 and 80? were sequenced, compared with other staphylococcal phage genomes, and analyzed for unique features that may be involved in SaPI mobilization.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus and other staphylococci continue to cause life-threatening infections in both hospital and community settings. They have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, especially ?-lactams and aminoglycosides, and their infections are now, in many cases, untreatable. Here we present a non-antibiotic, non-phage method of treating staphylococcal infections by engineering of the highly mobile staphylococcal pathogenicity islands (SaPIs). We replaced the SaPIs' toxin genes with antibacterial cargos to generate antibacterial drones (ABDs) that target the infecting bacteria in the animal host, express their cargo, kill or disarm the bacteria and thus abrogate the infection. Here we have constructed ABDs with either a CRISPR-Cas9 bactericidal or a CRISPR-dCas9 virulence-blocking module. We show that both ABDs block the development of a murine subcutaneous S. aureus abscess and that the bactericidal module rescues mice given a lethal dose of S. aureus intraperitoneally.
Project description:In 2008, an unusual strain of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA68111), producing both Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1), was isolated from a fatal case of necrotizing pneumonia. Because PVL/TSST-1 co-production in S. aureus is rare, we characterized the molecular organization of these toxin genes in strain 68111. MSSA68111 carries the PVL genes within a novel temperate prophage we call ?PVLv68111 that is most similar, though not identical, to phage ?PVL--a phage type that is relatively rare worldwide. The TSST-1 gene (tst) in MSSA68111 is carried on a unique staphylococcal pathogenicity island (SaPI) we call SaPI68111. Features of SaPI68111 suggest it likely arose through multiple major recombination events with other known SaPIs. Both ?PVLv68111 and SaPI68111 are fully mobilizable and therefore transmissible to other strains. Taken together, these findings suggest that hypervirulent S. aureus have the potential to emerge worldwide.
Project description:Mobile genetic elements (MGEs) encoding virulence and resistance genes are widespread in bacterial pathogens, but it has remained unclear how they occasionally jump to new host species. Staphylococcus aureus clones exchange MGEs such as S. aureus pathogenicity islands (SaPIs) with high frequency via helper phages. Here we report that the S. aureus ST395 lineage is refractory to horizontal gene transfer (HGT) with typical S. aureus but exchanges SaPIs with other species and genera including Staphylococcus epidermidis and Listeria monocytogenes. ST395 produces an unusual wall teichoic acid (WTA) resembling that of its HGT partner species. Notably, distantly related bacterial species and genera undergo efficient HGT with typical S. aureus upon ectopic expression of S. aureus WTA. Combined with genomic analyses, these results indicate that a 'glycocode' of WTA structures and WTA-binding helper phages permits HGT even across long phylogenetic distances thereby shaping the evolution of Gram-positive pathogens.