ABSTRACT: Due to their crucial role in pathogenesis and virulence, phages of Staphylococcus aureus have been extensively studied. Most of them encode and disseminate potent staphylococcal virulence factors. In addition, their movements contribute to the extraordinary versatility and adaptability of this prominent pathogen by improving genome plasticity. In addition to S. aureus, phages from coagulase-negative Staphylococci (CoNS) are gaining increasing interest. Some of these species, such as S. epidermidis, cause nosocomial infections and are therefore problematic for public health. This review provides an overview of the staphylococcal phages family extended to CoNS phages. At the morphological level, all these phages characterized so far belong to the Caudovirales order and are mainly temperate Siphoviridae. At the molecular level, comparative genomics revealed an extensive mosaicism, with genes organized into functional modules that are frequently exchanged between phages. Evolutionary relationships within this family, as well as with other families, have been highlighted. All these aspects are of crucial importance for our understanding of evolution and emergence of pathogens among bacterial species such as Staphylococci.
Project description:Despite increasing interest in coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), little information is available about their bacteriophages. We isolated and sequenced three novel temperate Siphoviridae phages (StB12, StB27, and StB20) from the CoNS Staphylococcus hominis and S. capitis species. The genome sizes are around 40 kb, and open reading frames (ORFs) are arranged in functional modules encoding lysogeny, DNA metabolism, morphology, and cell lysis. Bioinformatics analysis allowed us to assign a potential function to half of the predicted proteins. Structural elements were further identified by proteomic analysis of phage particles, and DNA-packaging mechanisms were determined. Interestingly, the three phages show identical integration sites within their host genomes. In addition to this experimental characterization, we propose a novel classification based on the analysis of 85 phage and prophage genomes, including 15 originating from CoNS. Our analysis established 9 distinct clusters and revealed close relationships between S. aureus and CoNS phages. Genes involved in DNA metabolism and lysis and potentially in phage-host interaction appear to be widespread, while structural genes tend to be cluster specific. Our findings support the notion of a possible reciprocal exchange of genes between phages originating from S. aureus and CoNS, which may be of crucial importance for pathogenesis in staphylococci.
Project description:The capacity for biofilm formation is one of the crucial factors of staphylococcal virulence. The occurrence of biofilm-forming staphylococci in raw milk may result in disturbances in technological processes in dairy factories as well as the contamination of finished food products. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the prevalence and characteristics of staphylococcal biofilm formation in raw milk samples and to explore the genetic background associated with biofilm formation in those isolates. The material subjected to testing included 30 cow's milk samples acquired from farms in the central part of Poland. A total of 54 staphylococcal strains were isolated from the samples, of which 42 were classified as coagulase-negative (CoNS) staphylococci belonging to the following species: S. haemolyticus, S. simulans, S. warneri, S. chromogenes, S. hominis, S. sciuri, S. capitis, S. xylosus and S. saprophyticus, while 12 were classified as S. aureus. The study examined the isolates' capacity for biofilm formation and the staphylococcal capacity for slime production and determined the presence of genetic determinants responsible for biofilm formation, i.e., the icaA, icaD, bap and eno and, additionally, among coagulase-negative staphylococci, i.e., the aap, bhp, fbe, embP and atlE. Each tested isolate exhibited the capacity for biofilm formation, of which most of them (79.6%) were capable of forming a strong biofilm, while 5.6% formed a moderate biofilm, and 14.8% a weak biofilm. A capacity for slime production was demonstrated in 51.9% isolates. Most of the tested staphylococcal strains (90.7%) had at least one of the tested genes. Nearly half (47.6%) of the CoNS had the eno gene, while for S. aureus, the eno gene was demonstrated in 58.3% isolates. The frequency of the bap gene occurrence was 23.8% and 25% in CoNS strains and S. aureus, respectively. The fbe gene was demonstrated in only three CoNS isolates. The presence of the icaA was only demonstrated in CoNS strains (24.1%), while the icaD was found in both CoNS strains (21.4%) and S. aureus (100%). Among the CoNS, the presence of the embP (16.7%), aap (28.6%) and atlE (23.8%) was demonstrated as well. The obtained study results indicate that bacteria of the Staphylococcus spp. genus have a strong potential to form a biofilm, which may pose a hazard to consumer health.
Project description:Coagulase-negative Staphylococci (CoNS) are skin commensal bacteria. Besides their role in maintaining homeostasis, CoNS have emerged as major pathogens in nosocomial settings. Several studies have investigated the molecular basis for this emergence and identified multiple putative virulence factors with regards to Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity. In the last decade, numerous CoNS whole-genome sequences have been released, leading to the identification of numerous putative virulence factors. Koch's postulates and the molecular rendition of these postulates, established by Stanley Falkow in 1988, do not explain the microbial pathogenicity of CoNS. However, whole-genome sequence data has shed new light on CoNS pathogenicity. In this review, we analyzed the contribution of genomics in defining CoNS virulence, focusing on the most frequent and pathogenic CoNS species: S. epidermidis, S. haemolyticus, S. saprophyticus, S. capitis, and S. lugdunensis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Bacteriophages are the most abundant and diverse entities in the biosphere, and this diversity is driven by constant predator-prey evolutionary dynamics and horizontal gene transfer. Phage genome sequences are under-sampled and therefore present an untapped and uncharacterized source of genetic diversity, typically characterized by highly mosaic genomes and no universal genes. To better understand the diversity and relationships among phages infecting human pathogens, we have analysed the complete genome sequences of 205 phages of Staphylococcus sp. RESULTS:These are predicted to encode 20,579 proteins, which can be sorted into 2139 phamilies (phams) of related sequences; 745 of these are orphams and possess only a single gene. Based on shared gene content, these phages were grouped into four clusters (A, B, C and D), 27 subclusters (A1-A2, B1-B17, C1-C6 and D1-D2) and one singleton. However, the genomes have mosaic architectures and individual genes with common ancestors are positioned in distinct genomic contexts in different clusters. The staphylococcal Cluster B siphoviridae are predicted to be temperate, and the integration cassettes are often closely-linked to genes implicated in bacterial virulence determinants. There are four unusual endolysin organization strategies found in Staphylococcus phage genomes, with endolysins predicted to be encoded as single genes, two genes spliced, two genes adjacent and as a single gene with inter-lytic-domain secondary translational start site. Comparison of the endolysins reveals multi-domain modularity, with conservation of the SH3 cell wall binding domain. CONCLUSIONS:This study provides a high-resolution view of staphylococcal viral genetic diversity, and insights into their gene flux patterns within and across different phage groups (cluster and subclusters) providing insights into their evolution.
Project description:Bacteriophages of the significant veterinary pathogen Staphylococcus pseudintermedius are rarely described morphologically and genomically in detail, and mostly include phages of the Siphoviridae family. There is currently no taxonomical classification for phages of this bacterial species. Here we describe a new phage designated vB_SpsS_QT1, which is related to phage 2638A originally described as a Staphylococcus aureus phage. Propagating strain S. aureus 2854 of the latter was reclassified by rpoB gene sequencing as S. pseudintermedius 2854 in this work. Both phages have a narrow but different host range determined on 54 strains. Morphologically, both of them belong to the family Siphoviridae, share the B1 morphotype, and differ from other staphylococcal phage genera by a single long fibre at the terminus of the tail. The complete genome of phage vB_SpsS_QT1 was sequenced with the IonTorrent platform and expertly annotated. Its linear genome with cohesive ends is 43,029 bp long and encodes 60 predicted genes with the typical modular structure of staphylococcal siphophages. A global alignment found the genomes of vB_SpsS_QT1 and 2638A to share 84% nucleotide identity, but they have no significant similarity of nucleotide sequences with other phage genomes available in public databases. Based on the morphological, phylogenetic, and genomic analyses, a novel genus Fibralongavirus in the family Siphoviridae is described with phage species vB_SpsS_QT1 and 2638A.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a commensal colonizer of both humans and animals, but also an opportunistic pathogen responsible for a multitude of diseases. In recent years, colonization of pigs by methicillin resistant S. aureus has become a problem with increasing numbers of humans being infected by livestock strains. In S. aureus colonization and virulence factor expression is controlled by the agr quorum sensing system, which responds to and is activated by self-generated, autoinducing peptides (AIPs). AIPs are also produced by coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS) commonly found as commensals in both humans and animals, and interestingly, some of these inhibit S. aureus agr activity. Here, we have addressed if cross-communication occurs between S. aureus and CoNS strains isolated from pig nares, and if so, how properties such as host factor binding and biofilm formation are affected. From 25 pig nasal swabs we obtained 54 staphylococcal CoNS isolates belonging to 8 different species. Of these, none were able to induce S. aureus agr as monitored by reporter gene fusions to agr regulated genes but a number of agr-inhibiting species were identified including Staphylococcus hyicus, Staphylococcus simulans, Staphylococcus arlettae, Staphylococcus lentus, and Staphylococcus chromogenes. After establishing that the inhibitory activity was mediated via AgrC, the receptor of AIPs, we synthesized selective AIPs to explore their effect on adhesion of S. aureus to fibronectin, a host factor involved in S. aureus colonization. Here, we found that the CoNS AIPs did not affect adhesion of S. aureus except for strain 8325-4. When individual CoNS strains were co-cultured together with S. aureus we observed variable degrees of biofilm formation which did not correlate with agr interactions. Our results show that multiple CoNS species can be isolated from pig nares and that the majority of these produce AIPs that inhibit S. aureus agr. Further they show that the consequences of the interactions between CoNS and S. aureus are complex and highly strain dependent.
Project description:Staphylococcus sciuri is a bacterial pathogen associated with infections in animals and humans, and represents a reservoir for the mecA gene encoding methicillin-resistance in staphylococci. No S. sciuri siphophages were known. Here the identification and characterization of two temperate S. sciuri phages from the Siphoviridae family designated ?575 and ?879 are presented. The phages have icosahedral heads and flexible noncontractile tails that end with a tail spike. The genomes of the phages are 42,160 and 41,448?bp long and encode 58 and 55 ORFs, respectively, arranged in functional modules. Their head-tail morphogenesis modules are similar to those of Staphylococcus aureus ?13-like serogroup F phages, suggesting their common evolutionary origin. The genome of phage ?575 harbours genes for staphylokinase and phospholipase that might enhance the virulence of the bacterial hosts. In addition both of the phages package a homologue of the mecA gene, which is a requirement for its lateral transfer. Phage ?879 transduces tetracycline and aminoglycoside pSTS7-like resistance plasmids from its host to other S. sciuri strains and to S. aureus. Furthermore, both of the phages efficiently adsorb to numerous staphylococcal species, indicating that they may contribute to interspecies horizontal gene transfer.
Project description:Phenotypic methods take several days for identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of staphylococcal isolates after gram-positive cocci in clusters (GPCC) are observed in positive blood cultures. We developed and validated a StaphPlex system that amplifies and detects 18 gene targets simultaneously in 1 reaction for species-level identification of staphylococci, detection of genes encoding Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), and antimicrobial resistance determinants of staphylococci. The StaphPlex system was compared to phenotypic methods for organism identification and antimicrobial resistance detection for positive blood culture specimens in which GPCC were observed. Among a total of 360 GPCC specimens, 273 (75.8%), 37 (10.3%), 37 (10.3%), 1 (0.3%), 3 (0.8%), and 9 (2.5%) were identified by StaphPlex as coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CoNS), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), or mixed infections of CoNS and MRSA, CoNS and MSSA, or nonstaphylococci, respectively, with an overall accuracy of 91.7%. The 277 CoNS-containing specimens were further identified to the species level as containing 203 (73.3%) Staphylococcus epidermidis isolates, 10 (3.6%) Staphylococcus haemolyticus isolates, 27 (9.7%) Staphylococcus hominis isolates, 1 (0.4%) Staphylococcus lugdunensis isolate, and 36 (13.0%) other CoNS isolates, with an overall accuracy of 80.1% compared to an API STAPH test and CDC reference identification. Numerous very major errors were noticed when detection of aacA, ermA, ermC, tetM, and tetK was used to predict in vitro antimicrobial resistance, but relatively few major errors were observed when the absence of these genes was used to predict susceptibility. The StaphPlex system demonstrated 100% sensitivity and specificity, ranging from 95.5% to 100.0% when used for staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec typing and PVL detection. StaphPlex provides simultaneous staphylococcal identification and detection of PVL and antimicrobial resistance determinants within 5 h, significantly shortening the time needed for phenotypic identification and antimicrobial susceptibility testing.
Project description:The mecA gene in Staphylococcus aureus is located on the genetic element staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCC). Different SCCmecs have been classified according to their putative recombinase genes (ccrA and ccrB) and overall genetic composition. Clinical isolates of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS; n = 39) and S. aureus (n = 20) from Norway, India, Italy, Finland, the United States, and the United Kingdom were analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, which showed that most isolates were genetically unrelated. Cluster analyses of 16S rRNA gene and pta sequences confirmed the traditional biochemical species identification. The mecI, mecR1, mecA, and ccrAB genes were detected by PCRs, identifying 19 out of 20 S. aureus and 17 out of 39 CoNS isolates as carriers of one of the three published ccrAB pairs. New variants of SCCmec were identified, as well as CoNS isolates containing ccrAB genes without the mec locus. ccrAB and mec PCRs were verified by hybridization. Sequence alignments of ccrAB genes showed a high level of diversity between the ccrAB alleles from different isolates, i.e., 94 to 100% and 95 to 100% homology for ccrAB1 and ccrAB2, respectively. All of the ccrAB3 genes identified were identical. Genetically unique and sporadic methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) contained local variants of ccrAB gene pairs identical to those found in MR-CoNS but different from those in MRSA from other regions. Allelic variants of ccrAB in isolates from the same geographic region showed sequence conservation independent of species. The species-independent sequence conservation found suggests that there is a closer genetic relationship between ccrAB2 in Norwegian staphylococci than between ccrAB2 sequences in international MRSA and Norwegian MRSA. This might indicate that different staphylococcal species acquire these genes locally by horizontal gene transfer.
Project description:The use of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for staphylococcal identification is now considered routine in laboratories compared with the conventional phenotypical methods previously used. We verified its microbiological relevance for identifying the main species of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) by randomly selecting 50 isolates. From 1 January 2007 to 31 August 2008, 12,479 staphylococci were isolated with phenotypic methods, of which 4,594 were identified as Staphylococcus aureus and 7,885 were coagulase negative staphylococci. Using MALDI-TOF MS from 1 January 2011 to 31 August 2012, 14,913 staphylococci were identified, with 5,066 as S. aureus and 9,847 as CoNS. MALDI-TOF MS allowed the identification of approximately 85% of the CoNS strains, whereas only 14% of the CoNS strains were identified to the species level with phenotypic methods because they were often considered contaminants. Furthermore, the use of MALDI-TOF MS revealed the occurrence of recently characterized Staphylococcus species, such as S. pettenkoferi, S. condimenti, and S. piscifermentans. Microbiological relevance analysis further revealed that some species displayed a high rate of microbiological significance, i.e., 40% of the S. lugdunensis strains included in the analysis were associated with infection risk. This retrospective microbiological study confirms the role of MALDI-TOF MS in clinical settings for the identification of staphylococci with clinical consequences. The species distribution reveals the occurrence of the recently identified species S. pettenkoferi and putative virulent species, including S. lugdunensis.