Molecular differentiation of historic phage-type 80/81 and contemporary epidemic Staphylococcus aureus.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterial pathogen known to cause infections in epidemic waves. One such epidemic was caused by a clone known as phage-type 80/81, a penicillin-resistant strain that rose to world prominence in the late 1950s. The molecular underpinnings of the phage-type 80/81 outbreak have remained unknown for decades, nor is it understood why related S. aureus clones became epidemic in hospitals in the early 1990s. To better understand the molecular basis of these epidemics, we sequenced the genomes of eight S. aureus clinical isolates representative of the phage-type 80/81 clone, the Southwest Pacific clone [a community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) clone], and contemporary S. aureus clones, all of which are genetically related and belong to the same clonal complex (CC30). Genome sequence analysis revealed that there was coincident divergence of these clones from a recent common ancestor, a finding that resolves controversy about the evolutionary history of the lineage. Notably, we identified nonsynonymous SNPs in genes encoding accessory gene regulator C (agrC) and ?-hemolysin (hla)--molecules important for S. aureus virulence--that were present in virtually all contemporary CC30 hospital isolates tested. Compared with the phage-type 80/81 and Southwest Pacific clones, contemporary CC30 hospital isolates had reduced virulence in mouse infection models, the result of SNPs in agrC and hla. We conclude that agr and hla (along with penicillin resistance) were essential for world dominance of phage-type 80/81 S. aureus, whereas key SNPs in contemporary CC30 clones restrict these pathogens to hospital settings in which the host is typically compromised.
Project description:Background. ?The contemporary Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex (CC) 30 lineage is associated with complicated infections, including endocarditis and osteomyelitis. This lineage diverged from the phage-type 80/81 S aureus clone responsible for a major bacterial epidemic of the 20th century. The genome and transcriptome features that contribute to complicated infections of the CC30 lineage are unknown. Methods. ?Twenty-nine clinical methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) strains (8 from CC30 and 21 from other major CCs were evaluated for virulence using murine and Galleria mellonella sepsis models. Genomic features of CC30 were identified by comparative genome sequencing and RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis of the 29 strains and 31 previously sequenced S aureus genomes. Results. ?The CC30 isolates displayed lower virulence in the sepsis models compared with other CCs [P < .0001]. Comparisons of orthologous proteins and transcriptome analysis identified genes (eg, nitric oxide reductase) and changes in metabolic pathways (eg, pyrimidine metabolism) that contribute to the distinct CC30 phenotype. Previously reported nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were found in accessory gene regulator C (agrC) and ?-hemolysin (hla), molecules important for virulence. Additional nonsynonymous SNPs conserved across clinical CC30 isolates when compared with the first sequenced contemporary CC30 clone, MRSA-16, were identified in multiple genes, suggesting continuing evolutionary divergence in this lineage. Conclusions. ?Genomic and transcriptional analyses suggest that the CC30 lineage has acquired metabolic features that contribute to persistent and complicated infections. Absence of sepsis-induced mortality in animal models may be due in part to its unique genomic profile and suggests that specific genotypes of S aureus elicit distinct types of infection types.
Project description:Clonal complex 30 (CC30), one of the major Staphylococcus aureus lineages, has caused extensive hospital-acquired and community-acquired infections worldwide. Recent comparative genomics studies have demonstrated that three CC30 clones-phage type 80/81, Southwest Pacific (SWP), and contemporary EMRSA-16 associated (Con) strains-shared a recent common ancestor more than 100 years ago. Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), a bacteriophage encoded toxin that has been epidemiologically linked with community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA), has frequently been identified in CC30 clones, although the pvl gene variation and distribution of PVL-encoding phages are poorly understood. We determined here the distribution of PVL phages, PVL gene sequences, and chromosomal phage insertion sites in 52 S. aureus CC30 PVL-harboring isolates, collected from four continents over a 75-year period. Our results indicate that PVL phages with icosahedral heads, including ?108PVL and ?PVL, were mainly associated with phage 80/81 strains, whereas phages with elongated heads were predominantly found in SWP (?Sa2958 and ?TCH60) and Con (?Sa2USA) strains. Nine single-nucleotide polymorphisms were identified in the lukSF-PV gene, with six isolates harboring the R variant that has been previously associated with CA-MRSA strains. Interestingly, all six R variant strains belonged to the same Con CC30 clone and carried a ?Sa2USA-like phage. Similar chromosomal phage insertion sites were also identified in all 52 PVL-harboring CC30 strains. These analyses provide important insights into the microepidemiology of PVL-harboring CC30 strains, while the discovery of ?Sa2USA-associated R variant strains sheds further light on the evolution of PVL-positive CA-MRSA.
Project description:Hospital-associated infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a global health burden dominated by a small number of bacterial clones. The pandemic EMRSA-16 clone (ST36-II) has been widespread in UK hospitals for 20 y, but its evolutionary origin and the molecular basis for its hospital association are unclear. We carried out a Bayesian phylogenetic reconstruction on the basis of the genome sequences of 87 S. aureus isolates including 60 EMRSA-16 and 27 additional clonal complex 30 (CC30) isolates, collected from patients in three continents over a 53-y period. The three major pandemic clones to originate from the CC30 lineage, including phage type 80/81, Southwest Pacific, and EMRSA-16, shared a most recent common ancestor that existed over 100 y ago, whereas the hospital-associated EMRSA-16 clone is estimated to have emerged about 35 y ago. Our CC30 genome-wide analysis revealed striking molecular correlates of hospital- or community-associated pandemics represented by mobile genetic elements and nonsynonymous mutations affecting antibiotic resistance and virulence. Importantly, phylogeographic analysis indicates that EMRSA-16 spread within the United Kingdom by transmission from hospitals in large population centers in London and Glasgow to regional health-care settings, implicating patient referrals as an important cause of nationwide transmission. Taken together, the high-resolution phylogenomic approach used resulted in a unique understanding of the emergence and transmission of a major MRSA clone and provided molecular correlates of its hospital adaptation. Similar approaches for hospital-associated clones of other bacterial pathogens may inform appropriate measures for controlling their intra- and interhospital spread.
Project description:<i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> clonal complex 30 (CC30) has given rise to epidemics worldwide and is one of the most prevalent lineages in Argentina, represented by sequence type 30 methicillin-resistant <i>S. aureus</i> SCC<i>mec</i> type IV (ST30-MRSA-IV). ST30-MRSA-IV has displaced previous prevalent clones in the country and demonstrated increased virulence. Despite the burden of infections caused by ST30-MRSA-IV both in hospitals and in communities in Argentina, no detailed genome-based characterization of this clone is available to date. In this study, we used whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to evaluate the genetic diversity, population structure, and genomic characteristics of 190 CC30-MRSA strains circulating in Argentina between 2004 and 2015. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the existence of 4 major clades: ARG-1 (CC30-MRSA-IVc-<i>spa</i> t012), ARG-2 (ST30-MRSA-IVc-<i>spa</i> t021 related), ARG-3 (ST30-MRSA-IVh/j-<i>spa</i> t021 and related), and ARG-4 (CC30-MRSA-IVc-<i>spa</i> t019 and related). The clades were characterized by different distributions of antimicrobial resistance determinants, virulence genes, and mobile genetic elements (MGEs). While ARG-1 and ARG-4 were related to global epidemic MRSA-16 (EMRSA-16) and South West Pacific (SWP) clones, respectively, ARG-3 was phylogenetically distinct from previously defined CC30 epidemic clones. ARG-4, the most prevalent and geographically disseminated in the collection (<i>N</i> = 164), was characterized by specific MGEs and chromosomal mutations that might have contributed to its virulence and success. To our knowledge, this is the first genomic epidemiology study of CC30-MRSA in Argentina, which will serve as baseline genomic data going forward to inform public health measures for infection prevention and control.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> The rise in prevalence of community-associated methicillin-resistant <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> (CA-MRSA) is of public health concern. In Argentina, several studies documented a shift in the epidemiology of CA-MRSA since 2009, with clonal complex 30 (CC30) and, in particular, sequence type 30 MRSA SCC<i>mec</i> type IV (ST30-MRSA-IV) replacing other clones both in communities and in hospitals and possibly displaying increased virulence. By sequencing the whole genomes of 190 CC30 MRSA isolates recovered from Argentina between 2005 and 2015, we showed that they represented a diverse population composed of 4 major clades. The predominant clade evolved from the South West Pacific clone but has acquired a distinct repertoire of mobile genetic elements, virulence genes, and chromosomal mutations that might play a role in its success. Our work is the first extensive genomic study of CC30 <i>S. aureus</i> in Argentina and will contribute not only to the development of genomic surveillance in the region but also to our understanding of the global epidemiology of this pathogen.
Project description:Methicillin-resistant <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> (MRSA) remains one of the leading causes of both nosocomial and community infections worldwide. In the Philippines, MRSA rates have remained above 50% since 2010, but resistance to other antibiotics, including vancomycin, is low. The MRSA burden can be partially attributed to pathogen-specific characteristics of the circulating clones, but little was known about the <i>S. aureus</i> clones circulating in the Philippines. We sequenced the whole genomes of 116 <i>S. aureus</i> isolates collected in 2013-2014 within the Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program. The multilocus sequence type, <i>spa</i> type, SCC<i>mec</i> type, presence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) determinants and virulence genes and relatedness between the isolates were all derived from the sequence data. The concordance between phenotypic and genotypic resistance was also determined. The MRSA population in the Philippines comprised a limited number of genetic clones, including several international epidemic clones, such as CC30-<i>spa</i>-t019-SCC<i>mec</i>-IV-PVL+, CC5-SCC<i>mec</i>-typeIV and ST239-<i>spa</i>-t030-SCC<i>mec</i>-typeIII. The CC30 genomes were related to the South-West Pacific clone but formed a distinct, diverse lineage, with evidence of global dissemination. We showed independent acquisition of resistance to sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim in various locations and genetic clones but mostly in paediatric patients with invasive infections. The concordance between phenotypic and genotypic resistance was 99.68% overall for eight antibiotics in seven classes. We have made the first comprehensive genomic survey of S. aureus in the Philippines, which bridges the gap in genomic data from the Western Pacific Region and will constitute the genetic background for contextualizing prospective surveillance.
Project description:The French National Reference Center for Staphylococci currently uses DNA arrays and spa typing for the initial epidemiological characterization of Staphylococcus aureus strains. We here describe the use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to investigate retrospectively four distinct and virulent S. aureus lineages [clonal complexes (CCs): CC1, CC5, CC8, CC30] involved in hospital and community outbreaks or sporadic infections in France. We used a WGS bioinformatics pipeline based on de novo assembly (reference-free approach), single nucleotide polymorphism analysis, and on the inclusion of epidemiological markers. We examined the phylogeographic diversity of the French dominant hospital-acquired CC8-MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus) Lyon clone through WGS analysis which did not demonstrate evidence of large-scale geographic clustering. We analyzed sporadic cases along with two outbreaks of a CC1-MSSA (methicillin-susceptible S. aureus) clone containing the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) and results showed that two sporadic cases were closely related. We investigated an outbreak of PVL-positive CC30-MSSA in a school environment and were able to reconstruct the transmission history between eight families. We explored different outbreaks among newborns due to the CC5-MRSA Geraldine clone and we found evidence of an unsuspected link between two otherwise distinct outbreaks. Here, WGS provides the resolving power to disprove transmission events indicated by conventional methods (same sequence type, spa type, toxin profile, and antibiotic resistance profile) and, most importantly, WGS can reveal unsuspected transmission events. Therefore, WGS allows to better describe and understand outbreaks and (inter-)national dissemination of S. aureus lineages. Our findings underscore the importance of adding WGS for (inter-)national surveillance of infections caused by virulent clones of S. aureus but also substantiate the fact that technological optimization at the bioinformatics level is still urgently needed for routine use. However, the greatest limitation of WGS analysis is the completeness and the correctness of the reference database being used and the conversion of floods of data into actionable results. The WGS bioinformatics pipeline (EpiSeqTM) we used here can easily generate a uniform database and associated metadata for epidemiological applications.
Project description:The key genetic component of methicillin resistance, the mecA determinant, is not native to Staphylococcus aureus. Thus, the evolution of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) must have begun with the acquisition of the mecA determinant from an unknown heterologous source some time before the first reported appearance of MRSA isolates in clinical specimens in the U.K. and Denmark (in the early 1960s). We compared the genetic backgrounds and phenotypes of a group of methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates to the properties of MRSA strains isolated in Denmark and the U.K. during the same time period, and also to the genetic profiles of contemporary epidemic clones of MRSA. All early MRSA isolates resembled a large group of the early MSSA blood isolates in phenotypic and genetic properties, including phage group, antibiotype (resistance to penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline), pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern, and spaA type and multilocus sequence type, strongly suggesting that the early MSSA examined here represented the progeny of a strain that served as one of the first S. aureus recipients of the methicillin-resistance determinant in Europe. The genetic background of this group of early MSSA isolates was also very similar to that of the widely disseminated contemporary "Iberian clone" of MRSA, suggesting that genetic determinants present in early MSSA and essential for some aspects of the epidemicity and/or virulence of these strains may have been retained by this highly successful contemporary MRSA lineage.
Project description:Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of skin and soft tissue infections. One of the highly successful and rapidly disseminating clones is MRSA ST22 commonly associated with skin tropism. Here we show that a naturally occurring single amino acid substitution (tyrosine to cysteine) at position 223 of AgrC determines starkly different ST22 S. aureus virulence phenotypes, e.g. cytotoxic or colonizing, as evident in both in vitro and in vivo skin infections. Y223C amino acid substitution destabilizes AgrC-AgrA interaction leading to a colonizing phenotype characterized by upregulation of bacterial surface proteins. The colonizing phenotype strains cause less severe skin tissue damage, show decreased susceptibility towards the antimicrobial LL-37 and induce autophagy. In contrast, cytotoxic strains with tyrosine at position 223 of AgrC cause infections characterized by inflammasome activation and severe skin tissue pathology. Taken together, the study demonstrates how a single amino acid substitution in the histidine kinase receptor AgrC of ST22 strains determines virulence properties and infection outcome.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus KSI9051 has a complex mutation that was associated with the aberrant expression of cell surface and extracellular proteins (M. S. Smeltzer, M. E. Hart, and J. J. Iandolo, J. Bacteriol. 61:919-925, 1993). This mutation was named xpr, although no specific gene was identified. Here this mutation is referred to as Delta1058::Tn551. In this study, we show that in strain KSI9051, the Delta1058::Tn551 mutation occurred coincidentally with a frameshift in agrC that is expected to truncate the sensor component of the known staphylococcal global regulatory locus agr. Remarkably, pleiotropic mutations affecting cell surface and extracellular proteins are generated at frequencies approaching 50% upon the transduction of erythromycin resistance (Emr) encoded by Delta1058::Tn551 from S. aureus KSI905 back to its parental strain, S6C. Three independent isolates created in the manner of KSI9051 contained mutations within agrC. Each isolate had different mutations, suggesting that the transduction of Emr encoded by Delta1058::Tn551 affects the stability of agrC in S6C. In similar experiments with strains from an S. aureus 8325 genetic background, a mutant AgrC phenotype could not be isolated, implying that strain S6 has aberrant genetic behavior. A comparison of the nucleotide sequences of AgrC from several strains revealed seven errors in the GenBank entry for agr (X52543); these data were confirmed with plasmid pRN6650, the original wild-type clone of agr.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterial pathogen responsible for a wide range of diseases and is also a human commensal colonizing the upper respiratory tract. Strains belonging to the clonal complex group CC30 are associated with colonization, although the colonization state itself is not clearly defined. In this work, we developed a co-culture model with S. aureus colonizing the apical surface of polarized human airway epithelial cells. The S. aureus are grown at the air-liquid interface to allow an in-depth evaluation of a simulated colonization state. Exposure to wild-type, S. aureus bacteria or conditioned media killed airway epithelial cells within 1?day, while mutant S. aureus strains lacking alpha-toxin (hla) persisted on viable cells for at least 2?days. Recent S. aureus CC30 isolates are natural hla mutants, and we observed that these strains displayed reduced toxicity toward airway epithelial cells. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction of known virulence factors showed the expression profile of S. aureus grown in co-culture correlates with results from previous human colonization studies. Microarray analysis indicated significant shifts in S. aureus physiology in the co-culture model toward lipid and amino acid metabolism. The development of the in vitro colonization model will enable further study of specific S. aureus interactions with the host epithelia.