MRSA epidemic linked to a quickly spreading colonization and virulence determinant.
ABSTRACT: The molecular processes underlying epidemic waves of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection are poorly understood(1). Although a major role has been attributed to the acquisition of virulence determinants by horizontal gene transfer(2), there are insufficient epidemiological and functional data supporting that concept. We here report the spread of clones containing a previously extremely rare(3,4) mobile genetic element–encoded gene, sasX. We demonstrate that sasX has a key role in MRSA colonization and pathogenesis, substantially enhancing nasal colonization, lung disease and abscess formation and promoting mechanisms of immune evasion. Moreover, we observed the recent spread of sasX from sequence type 239 (ST239) to invasive clones belonging to other sequence types. Our study identifies sasX as a quickly spreading crucial determinant of MRSA pathogenic success and a promising target for therapeutic interference. Our results provide proof of principle that horizontal gene transfer of key virulence determinants drives MRSA epidemic waves.
Project description:The information of molecular characteristics and antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is essential for control and treatment of diseases caused by this medically important pathogen. A total of 577 clinical MRSA bloodstream isolates from six major hospitals in Taiwan were determined for molecular types, carriage of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) and sasX genes and susceptibilities to 9 non-beta-lactam antimicrobial agents. A total of 17 genotypes were identified in 577 strains by pulsotyping. Five major pulsotypes, which included type A (26.2%, belonging to sequence type (ST) 239, carrying type III staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec), type F (18.9%, ST5-SCCmecII), type C (18.5%, ST59-SCCmecIV), type B (12.0%, ST239-SCCmecIII) and type D (10.9%, ST59-SCCmecVT/IV), prevailed in each of the six sampled hospitals. PVL and sasX genes were respectively carried by ST59-type D strains and ST239 strains with high frequencies (93.7% and 99.1%, respectively) but rarely detected in strains of other genotypes. Isolates of different genotypes and from different hospitals exhibited distinct antibiograms. Multi-resistance to ?3 non-beta-lactams was more common in ST239 isolates (100%) than in ST5 isolates (97.2%, P?=?0.0347) and ST59 isolates (8.2%, P<0.0001). Multivariate analysis further indicated that the genotype, but not the hospital, was an independent factor associated with muti-resistance of the MRSA strains. In conclusion, five common MRSA clones with distinct antibiograms prevailed in the major hospitals in Taiwan in 2010. The antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of invasive MRSA was mainly determined by the clonal distribution.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Nasal colonization of Staphylococcus aureus is a risk factor for the pathogen transmission and the development of infections. Limited information is available on the prevalence and molecular characteristics of S. aureus colonization in pediatric intensive care unit (ICU) patients. METHODS:A cross-sectional, island-wide study was conducted in 2011. Nasal swabs were collected from pediatric ICU patients at six tertiary hospitals in Taiwan. RESULTS:Of 114 patients enrolled in total, nasal colonization of S. arueus was detected in 30 (26.3%) of them, among whom 20 (17.5%) with methicillin-resistant S. arueus (MRSA). The ST59/SCCmec IV and V clones were most common and accounted for 45% of MRSA isolates, followed by ST239/SCCmec III (25%) and ST45/SCCmec IV (20%) clones. Three ST59 MRSA isolates carried the Panton-Valentine Leukocidin genes. CONCLUSIONS:The results indicated a high prevalence of S. arueus and MRSA nasal colonization among pediatric ICU patients in Taiwan. Identification of epidemic clones warrants the implement of infection control measures to reduce colonization and prevent the dissemination of MRSA in hospitals.
Project description:ST239-MRSA-III is probably the oldest truly pandemic MRSA strain, circulating in many countries since the 1970s. It is still frequently isolated in some parts of the world although it has been replaced by other MRSA strains in, e.g., most of Europe. Previous genotyping work (Harris et al., 2010; Castillo-Ramírez et al., 2012) suggested a split in geographically defined clades. In the present study, a collection of 184 ST239-MRSA-III isolates, mainly from countries not covered by the previous studies were characterized using two DNA microarrays (i) targeting an extensive range of typing markers, virulence and resistance genes and (ii) a SCCmec subtyping array. Thirty additional isolates underwent whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and, together with published WGS data for 215 ST239-MRSA-III isolates, were analyzed using in-silico analysis for comparison with the microarray data and with special regard to variation within SCCmec elements. This permitted the assignment of isolates and sequences to 39 different SCCmec III subtypes, and to three major and several minor clades. One clade, characterized by the integration of a transposon into nsaB and by the loss of fnbB and splE was detected among isolates from Turkey, Romania and other Eastern European countries, Russia, Pakistan, and (mainly Northern) China. Another clade, harboring sasX/sesI is widespread in South-East Asia including China/Hong Kong, and surprisingly also in Trinidad & Tobago. A third, related, but sasX/sesI-negative clade occurs not only in Latin America but also in Russia and in the Middle East from where it apparently originated and from where it also was transferred to Ireland. Minor clades exist or existed in Western Europe and Greece, in Portugal, in Australia and New Zealand as well as in the Middle East. Isolates from countries where this strain is not epidemic (such as Germany) frequently are associated with foreign travel and/or hospitalization abroad. The wide dissemination of this strain and the fact that it was able to cause a hospital-borne pandemic that lasted nearly 50 years emphasizes the need for stringent infection prevention and control and admission screening.
Project description:PURPOSE:Little is known about the molecular epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus in Chinese neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). We describe the molecular epidemiology of S. aureus isolated from neonates on admission to Beijing Children's Hospital. METHODS:From May 2015-March 2016, nasal swabs were obtained on admission from 536 neonates. Cultures were also obtained from body sites with suspected infections. S. aureus isolates were characterized by staphylococcal chromosomal cassette (SCCmec) type, staphylococcal protein A (spa) type, multilocus sequence type (MLST), sasX gene, antimicrobial susceptibility and cytotoxicity. Logistic regression assessed risk factors for colonization. RESULTS:Overall, 92 (17%) infants were colonized with S. aureus and 20 (3.7%) were diagnosed with culture-positive S. aureus infection. Of the colonized infants, 70% (64/92) harbored methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), 30% (28/92) harbored methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) while 70% (14/20) of infected infants were culture-positive for MRSA, 30% (6/20) were culture-positive for MSSA. Risk factors for colonization included female sex, age 7-28 days, higher birthweight (3270 IQR [2020-3655] grams) and vaginal delivery (p<0.05). The most common MRSA and MSSA clones were community-associated ST59-SCCmecIVa-t437 (60%) and ST188-t189 (15%), respectively. The sasX gene was not detected. Some MSSA isolates (16%) were penicillin-susceptible and some MRSA isolates (18%) were oxacillin-susceptible. MRSA and MSSA had similar cytotoxicity, but colonizing strains were less cytotoxic than strains associated with infections. CONCLUSIONS:S. aureus colonization was common in infants admitted to our NICU and two community-associated clones predominated. Several non-modifiable risk factors for S. aureus colonization were identified. These results suggest that screening infants for S. aureus upon admission and targeting decolonization of high-risk infants and/or those colonized with high-risk clones could be useful to prevent transmission.
Project description:The global spread of specific clones of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become a major public health problem, and understanding the dynamics of geographical spread requires worldwide surveillance. Over the past 20 years, the ST239 lineage of MRSA has been recognized as an emerging clone across the globe, with detailed studies focusing on isolates from Europe and Asia. Less is known about this lineage in South America, and, particularly, Brazil where it was the predominant lineage of MRSA in the early 1990s to 2000s. To gain a better understanding about the introduction and spread of ST239 MRSA in Brazil we undertook a comparative phylogenomic analysis of ST239 genomes, adding seven completed, closed Brazilian genomes. Brazilian ST239 isolates grouped in a subtree with those from South American, and Western, romance-language-speaking, European countries, here designated the South American clade. After an initial worldwide radiation in the 1960s and 1970s, we estimate that ST239 began to spread in South America and Brazil in approximately 1988. This clone demonstrates specific genomic changes that are suggestive of local divergence and adaptational change including agrC single-nucleotide polymorphisms variants, and a distinct pattern of virulence-associated genes (mainly the presence of the chp and the absence of sea and sasX). A survey of a geographically and chronologically diverse set of 100 Brazilian ST239 isolates identified this virulence genotype as the predominant pattern in Brazil, and uncovered an unexpectedly high prevalence of agr-dysfunction (30%). ST239 isolates from Brazil also appear to have undergone transposon (IS256) insertions in or near global regulatory genes (agr and mgr) that likely led to rapid reprogramming of bacterial traits. In general, the overall pattern observed in phylogenomic analyses of ST239 is of a rapid initial global radiation, with subsequent local spread and adaptation in multiple different geographic locations. Most ST239 isolates harbor the ardA gene, which we show here to have in vivo anti-restriction activity. We hypothesize that this gene may have improved the ability of this lineage to acquire multiple resistance genes and distinct virulence-associated genes in each local context. The allopatric divergence pattern of ST239 also may suggest strong selective pressures for specific traits in different geographical locations.
Project description:Typing of healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from Australia in the 1970s revealed a novel clone, ST2249-MRSA-III (CC45), present from 1973 to 1979. This clone was present before the Australian epidemic caused by the recombinant clone, ST239-MRSA-III. This study aimed to characterize the genome of ST2249-MRSA-III to establish its relationship to other MRSA clones. DNA microarray analysis was conducted and a draft genome sequence of ST2249 was obtained. The recombinant structure of the ST2249 genome was revealed by comparisons to publicly available ST239 and ST45 genomes. Microarray analysis of genomic DNA of 13 ST2249 isolates showed gross similarities with the ST239 chromosome in a segment around the origin of replication and with ST45 for the remainder of the chromosome. Recombination breakpoints were precisely determined by the changing pattern of nucleotide polymorphisms in the genome sequence of ST2249 isolate SK1585 compared with ST239 and ST45. One breakpoint was identified to the right of oriC, between sites 1014 and 1065 of the gene D484_00045. Another was identified to the left of oriC, between sites 1185 and 1248 of D484_01632. These results indicate that ST2249 inherited approximately 35.3% of its chromosome from an ST239-like parent and 64.7% from an ST45-like parent. ST2249-MRSA-III resulted from a major recombination between parents that resemble ST239 and ST45. Although only limited Australian archival material is available, the oldest extant isolate of ST2249 predates the oldest Australian isolate of ST239 by 3 years. It is therefore plausible that these two recombinant clones were introduced into Australia separately.
Project description:In the past decade, several countries have seen gradual replacement of endemic multi-resistant healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with clones that are more susceptible to antibiotic treatment. One example is Singapore, where MRSA ST239, the dominant clone since molecular profiling of MRSA began in the mid-1980s, has been replaced by ST22 isolates belonging to EMRSA-15, a recently emerged pandemic lineage originating from Europe.We investigated the population structure of MRSA in Singaporean hospitals spanning three decades, using whole genome sequencing. Applying Bayesian phylogenetic methods we report that prior to the introduction of ST22, the ST239 MRSA population in Singapore originated from multiple introductions from the surrounding region; it was frequently transferred within the healthcare system resulting in a heterogeneous hospital population. Following the introduction of ST22 around the beginning of the millennium, this clone spread rapidly through Singaporean hospitals, supplanting the endemic ST239 population. Coalescent analysis revealed that although the genetic diversity of ST239 initially decreased as ST22 became more dominant, from 2007 onwards the genetic diversity of ST239 began to increase once more, which was not associated with the emergence of a sub-clone of ST239. Comparative genomic analysis of the accessory genome of the extant ST239 population identified that the Arginine Catabolic Mobile Element arose multiple times, thereby introducing genes associated with enhanced skin colonization into this population.Our results clearly demonstrate that, alongside clinical practice and antibiotic usage, competition between clones also has an important role in driving the evolution of nosocomial pathogen populations.
Project description:Since 2010, methicillin-resistant <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> (MRSA) ST59 began to increase in prevalence in China, gradually replacing ST239 and has become the dominant clone in most hospitals in China. Here, we investigated the changing epidemiology, phylogenetic reconstruction, and genomic characterization of MRSA clones in China to identify the genomic driving factors in the prevalence of ST59. Most MRSA isolates were identified as ST59 (36.98%; 277/749), which increased from 25.09% in 2014 to 35.53% in 2019. The phylogenetic analysis of the 749 MRSA isolates showed a high level of diversity and the copresence of hospital-associated, community-associated, livestock-associated, and hypervirulent clones. Furthermore, minimum spanning trees revealed that ST59 MRSA clones from different hospitals and regions were integrated, suggesting that frequent exchanges had occurred between regions and hospitals. ST59 clones displayed higher susceptibility to antimicrobials than did ST239 and ST5 MRSA clones, indicating that resistance to non-β-lactam and fluoroquinolone antibiotics may be not critical for the epidemic success of ST59 clones. Virulence factors detection showed that <i>sak</i> and <i>chp</i> genes enriched in MRSA ST59 may be associated with the enhanced spreading success of ST59, whereas <i>qacA</i> may have contributed to the predominance of ST5 in East China. Our refined analysis of different clones among ST239, ST5, ST59, and ST398 demonstrated the existence of potential driving factors for the evolution of nosocomial MRSA populations and diversity of the evolutionary events surrounding clonal replacement. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> As a developing country, China has an unbalanced health care system due to regional differences in economic development. However, China is also a country worthy of study with regard to the population dynamics of MRSA within the more resource-rich health care systems. In this study, we carried out genomic analysis to investigate the genomic epidemiology and characterization of MRSA isolated from bloodstream infections over a timespan of 6 years. Our refined analysis of different MRSA clones among ST59, ST5, ST239, and ST398 demonstrated the existence of driving factors for the evolution of nosocomial MRSA populations and diversity of the evolutionary events surrounding clonal replacement.
Project description:The highly successful epidemic of healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HA-MRSA) ST239 is a growing concern worldwide, due to its progressive adaptation to the highly selective environment of the healthcare system. HA-MRSA ST239 display the reduced virulence and successfully colonize in hospital settings, while the emergent community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) maintain full virulence and cause infections in the community environment. Our aim was to investigate what enables S. aureus ST239 to be highly adaptive under hospital circumstances and gradually progress to a series of widespread invasive infections. We found that spa expression of HA-MRSA ST239 is much higher than that of CA-SA ST398. And we discovered that the highly production of staphylococcal protein A (SpA), having no concern with spa gene structure, enhances nasal colonization and cell adhesion in ST239. S. aureus ST239 defends against the adaptive immune response by resisting phagocytosis and inducing apoptosis of B cells through expression of surface-anchored and released protein A, facilitating its dissemination within the circulatory system to other organs. Protein A also plays another key role in subverting the host immune response through its ability to induce early shedding of TNF-? receptor 1 (TNFR1) from phagocytic cells. The increased levels of soluble TNFR1 present during experimental S. aureus ST239 infection may neutralize circulating TNF-? and impair the host inflammatory response. Protein A is also a virulence factor, as tested in our bacteremia model in mice, contributing to the durative tissue damage of abscess formation sites in ST239 infection. These functions of protein A eventually benefit to widespread infections of S. aureus ST239. We draw the conclusion that Staphylococcal Protein A may be a crucial determinant in the colonization and immune evasion of ST239 infections, contributing to persistent spread in the hospital settings. These results suggest that antibodies against protein A may provide insights into the development of novel treatments against S. aureus, especially HA-MRSA.
Project description:An important determinant of a pathogen's success is the rate at which it is transmitted from infected to susceptible hosts. Although there are anecdotal reports that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clones vary in their transmissibility in hospital settings, attempts to quantify such variation are lacking for common subtypes, as are methods for addressing this question using routinely-collected MRSA screening data in endemic settings. Here we present a method to quantify the time-varying transmissibility of different subtypes of common bacterial nosocomial pathogens using routine surveillance data. The method adapts approaches for estimating reproduction numbers based on the probabilistic reconstruction of epidemic trees, but uses relative hazards rather than serial intervals to assign probabilities to different sources for observed transmission events. The method is applied to data collected as part of a retrospective observational study of a concurrent MRSA outbreak in the United Kingdom with dominant endemic MRSA clones (ST22 and ST36) and an Asian ST239 MRSA strain (ST239-TW) in two linked adult intensive care units, and compared with an approach based on a fully parametric transmission model. The results provide support for the hypothesis that the clones responded differently to an infection control measure based on the use of topical antiseptics, which was more effective at reducing transmission of endemic clones. They also suggest that in one of the two ICUs patients colonized or infected with the ST239-TW MRSA clone had consistently higher risks of transmitting MRSA to patients free of MRSA. These findings represent some of the first quantitative evidence of enhanced transmissibility of a pandemic MRSA lineage, and highlight the potential value of tailoring hospital infection control measures to specific pathogen subtypes.