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Staphylococcus aureus ST398 Virulence Is Associated With Factors Carried on Prophage ?Sa3.


ABSTRACT: An increasing number of severe infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus ST398 strains has been observed. However, it has not been elucidated whether all ST398 strains are equally virulent. We collected 13 strains from China and Canada to test in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model and compared their whole genome sequences (WGS) to explore potential insights into their virulence. All isolates belonged to ST398-methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) with variant spa types (t034, t571, t1451, t1250). Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and WGS analyses showed that the 13 isolates clustered into 3 genomic types (Types A-C). WGS and prophage phylogenetic analyses also revealed that the strains could be divided into 3 phage groups (Groups 1-3), which correlated with high-, moderate-, and low-nematocidal activities, with mean killing rates of 94, 67, and 40%, respectively. Group 1 carried ?Sa3-Group 1 (?Sa3-G1), Group 2 carried ?Sa3-G2, and Group 3 lacked ?Sa3. Interestingly, strain GD1706 (that genetically clustered within Type C) and strain GD487 (within Type B) both carried ?Sa3-G1 like phages and killed 92% of the nematodes, similar to the Type A strains carrying ?Sa3-G1. This study demonstrated that different ST398 sub-lineages possess variable virulence capacities, depending on the presence or absence, as well as the structure of the prophage ?Sa3 that carries virulence factors. IMPORTANCE:Since first being reported in the early 2000s, Staphylococcus aureus ST398 has not only become recognized as a frequent colonizing strain in economically important livestock animals, but has also proven to be a concern for infection in humans and, in particular, has been linked to higher rates of severe invasive human infections. We collected ST398 strains from China and Canada to test in a worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) infection model and compared their whole genome sequences to gain insight into pathogenesis. We have shown that different ST398 sub-strains differ in their virulence potential based on the presence or absence and structure of prophage ?Sa3, which carries important virulence factors. Our observations suggest that ST398 strains are relatively heterogeneous from a clinical perspective, and more studies are needed to differentiate between virulent and non-virulent ST398 strains to determine the true global spread of relevant sub-strains.

SUBMITTER: Kashif A 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6771273 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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