Genetic organization of the chromosome region surrounding mecA in clinical staphylococcal strains: role of IS431-mediated mecI deletion in expression of resistance in mecA-carrying, low-level methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus haemolyticus.
ABSTRACT: We report on the structural diversity of mecA gene complexes carried by 38 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and 91 methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative Staphylococcus strains of seven different species with a special reference to its correlation with phenotypic expression of methicillin resistance. The most prevalent and widely disseminated mec complex had the structure mecI-mecR1-mecA-IS431R (or IS431mec), designated the class A mecA gene complex. In contrast, in S. haemolyticus, mecA was bracketed by two copies of IS431, forming the structure IS431L-mecA-IS431R. Of the 38 S. haemolyticus strains, 5 had low-level methicillin resistance (MIC, 1 to 4 mg/liter) and characteristic heterogeneous methicillin resistance as judged by population analysis. In these five strains, IS431L was located to the left of an intact mecI gene, forming the structure IS431L-class A mecA-gene complex. In other S. haemolyticus strains, IS431L was associated with the deletion of mecI and mecR1, forming the structure IS431L-DeltamecR1-mecA-IS431mec, designated the class C mecA gene complex. Mutants with the class C mecA gene complex were obtained in vitro by selecting strain SH621, containing the IS431L-class A mecA gene complex with low concentrations of methicillin (1 and 3 mg/liter). The mutants had intermediate level of methicillin resistance (MIC, 16 to 64 mg/liter). The mecA gene transcription was shown to be derepressed in a representative mutant strain, SH621-37. Our study indicated that the mecI-encoded repressor function is responsible for the low-level methicillin resistance of some S. haemolyticus clinical strains and that the IS431-mediated mecI gene deletion causes the expression of methicillin resistance through the derepression of mecA gene transcription.
Project description:Genomic diversification of the mec regulator region mediated by IS431 was investigated for clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant staphylococci. A single rearranged form of the mecR1 gene due to IS431 insertion was detected in the three staphylococcal species, while another type of mecR1 truncation with IS431 and an IS431 located downstream of mecI were found only in Staphylococcus haemolyticus. Genetic differentiation of IS431 and staphylococcal isolates suggested transmission of mecDNA with IS431-mediated rearrangement among different staphylococcal species.
Project description:The distributions of the mec regulator genes mecI and mecR1, which were identified on the chromosome of mecA-carrying Staphylococcus aureus N315, in methicillin-resistant staphylococci isolated in Japan and various countries were studied. Screening by dot blot hybridization by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified probes revealed that at least the 5'-end region of the mecR1 gene was present in all strains tested, whereas about 40% of the strains were negative for the mecI gene. The data suggested that these regulator genes were the original components of the additional mec region DNA of methicillin-resistant S. aureus as well as methicillin-resistant, coagulase-negative staphylococci of seven staphylococcal species (S. epidermidis, S. haemolyticus, S. hominis, S. sciuri, S. capitis, S. caprae, and S. warneri). The mecI gene, which presumably codes for the repressor protein of the mecA gene, was found to harbor a point mutation in all six mecI-positive methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains, and their basal level of mecA gene transcription was elevated compared with that of strain N315, which harbors a presumably intact counterpart of the mecI gene. The data suggested that the mecI gene encodes for a strong repressor function on mecA gene transcription and is deleted or mutated in clinical methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains with high levels of resistance to methicillin.
Project description:We determined allelic polymorphisms in the mec complexes of 524 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates by partial or complete sequencing of three mec genes, mecA, mecI, and mecR1. The isolates had been collected over a 10-year period from patients living in rural Wisconsin, where the use of antibiotics was expected to be lower than in the bigger cities. Of the 18 mutation types identified, 16 had not been described previously. The five most common mutations were a mutation 7 nucleotides (nt) upstream from the start site (G-->T) in the mecA promoter (34.7%), an E246G change encoded by mecA (2.2%), a cytosine insertion at codon 257 in mecA (13.2%), an N121K change encoded by mecI (7.8%), and a major mecI-mecR1 deletion designated as a class B1 mec complex deletion type (25.4%). There was a high degree of conservation of the amino acid sequence of MecR1. Strains with the same mutations had variable resistance to oxacillin, and the median MIC for isolates that harbored the 7-nt-upstream mutation was lower than that for strains harboring other mutations. Our data suggest that the mecA promoter mutation plays a more important role in determining methicillin resistance than mutations in mecI and mecA do. Eighty-five percent of the tested isolates (n = 148) with the mecA promoter mutation and the class B1 mec complex deletion belonged to the same major clonal group, identified as MCG-2, and harbored the type IV staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec DNA. There was also a wide range of oxacillin MICs for strains with wild-type mecA, mecI, and mecR1 sequences, suggesting that the genetic backgrounds of clinical strains are significant in determining susceptibility to methicillin.
Project description:Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an important human pathogen, which is cross-resistant to virtually all ?-lactam antibiotics. MRSA strains are defined by the presence of mecA gene. The transcription of mecA can be regulated by a sensor-inducer (MecR1) and a repressor (MecI), involving a unique series of proteolytic steps. The induction of mecA by MecR1 has been described as very inefficient and, as such, it is believed that optimal expression of ?-lactam resistance by MRSA requires a non-functional MecR1-MecI system. However, in a recent study, no correlation was found between the presence of functional MecR1-MecI and the level of ?-lactam resistance in a representative collection of epidemic MRSA strains. Here, we demonstrate that the mecA regulatory locus consists, in fact, of an unusual three-component arrangement containing, in addition to mecR1-mecI, the up to now unrecognized mecR2 gene coding for an anti-repressor. The MecR2 function is essential for the full induction of mecA expression, compensating for the inefficient induction of mecA by MecR1 and enabling optimal expression of ?-lactam resistance in MRSA strains with functional mecR1-mecI regulatory genes. Our data shows that MecR2 interacts directly with MecI, destabilizing its binding to the mecA promoter, which results in the repressor inactivation by proteolytic cleavage, presumably mediated by native cytoplasmatic proteases. These observations point to a revision of the current model for the transcriptional control of mecA and open new avenues for the design of alternative therapeutic strategies for the treatment of MRSA infections. Moreover, these findings also provide important insights into the complex evolutionary pathways of antibiotic resistance and molecular mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in bacteria.
Project description:Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is intrinsically cross-resistant to virtually all β-lactam antibiotics. The central determinant for the MRSA phenotype is the mecA gene, whose transcriptional control may be mediated by a repressor (mecI) and a sensor/inducer (mecR1). The mecI-mecR1-mediated induction of mecA takes several hours rendering the strains phenotypically susceptible in spite of the presence of the resistance gene. Therefore, it has been proposed that the full resistance to β-lactams observed in many contemporary clinical MRSA strains requires a non-functional mecI-mecR1 regulatory system. The mecA gene is embedded in a large chromosomal cassette (the SCCmec element) for which several structural types have been described. Some epidemic MRSA clones, typically expressing full β-lactam resistance, carry SCCmec elements that contain an intact mecI-mecR1 locus (e.g. SCCmec types II and III). We have addressed this apparent contradiction by first sequencing the mecI coding region and mecA promoter sequences in a collection of prototype MRSA strains characterized by different SCCmec types. A conserved non-sense mutation within mecI was detected in all SCCmec type III strains tested, presumably responsible for a non-functional truncated MecI protein and, therefore, explaining the full resistance phenotype. In SCCmec type II strains no conserved mutations were found. We next transformed a collection of prototype MRSA epidemic strains with a recombinant plasmid overexpressing a wild-type copy of mecI. Surprisingly, for the great majority of the strains no significant alterations in the phenotypic expression of β-lactam resistance could be detected. These findings were confirmed and further explored, challenging the currently accepted mechanism of mecA transcriptional control. Our observations suggest the existence of yet unidentified additional determinants involved in the transcriptional control of mecA gene and point to a revision of the mecA regulatory mechanism in contemporary MRSA strains.
Project description:We have previously shown (G. L. Archer, D. M. Niemeyer, J. A. Thanassi, and M. J. Pucci, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 38:447-454, 1994) that some methicillin-resistant staphylococcal isolates contain a partial deletion of the genes (mecR1 and mecI) that regulate the transcription of the methicillin resistance structural gene (mecA). When a fragment of DNA inserted at the point of the mecR1 deletion was used as a probe, hybridization with multiple bands was detected for Staphylococcus haemolyticus genomic DNA. In the present study, DNA sequencing of four unique clones recovered from a lambda library of S. haemolyticus revealed identical 1,934-bp elements. Each element, designated IS1272, contained 16-bp terminal inverted repeats (sequence identity, 15 of 16 bp) and two open reading frames of 819 and 687 bp; there were no flanking target site duplications. Database searches yielded amino acid homology with proteins predicted to be encoded by open reading frames from a putative insertion sequence element from Enterococcus hirae. DNA probes from each end and the middle of IS1272 were hybridized with restriction endonuclease-digested genomic DNA from clinical S. haemolyticus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, and Staphylococcus aureus isolates. Each of the 20 or more copies of the element found in S. haemolyticus isolates was intact, and copies were found in most chromosomal SmaI fragments. S. aureus and S. epidermidis isolates contained mostly incomplete fragments of the element, and there were many more hybridizing fragments in methicillin-resistant than in methicillin-susceptible isolates. IS1272, which appears to be primarily resident in S. haemolyticus, has disseminated to multiple staphylococcal species and is prevalent in multiresistant isolates.
Project description:DNA probes consisting of pUC19 containing cloned Staphylococcus aureus chromosomal fragments were constructed from two methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains with different DNA sequences 5' to mecA, the gene that mediates methicillin resistance. The probe from one strain, BMS1, contained a portion of the regulatory sequences (the terminal 641 bp of mecR1 and all of mecI) associated with the induction and repression of mecA transcription (pGO195). The second probe, from strain COL (pGO198), contained DNA not found in strain BMS1. This DNA was within the sequences added at the site of a mecR1 deletion. Genomic digests of 14 S. aureus isolates recovered between 1961 and 1969 all hybridized with pGO198. In contrast, 78% (36 of 46) of the S. aureus organisms isolated since 1988 hybridized with pGO195 but not with pGO198; the remainder hybridized with pGO198. No S. aureus isolates hybridized with both probes. Staphylococcus epidermidis digests hybridized with pGO198 (46%), pGO195 (14%), or both probes (35%); all 20 Staphylococcus haemolyticus isolates hybridized with pGO198. The restriction fragment length polymorphism patterns of all pGO198-hybridizing regions in S. aureus were identical to those in strain COL. In addition, the mecR1 deletion junction nucleotide sequences of eight S. aureus and six S. epidermidis isolates were identical. However, 21 of 23 S. epidermidis and all 20 S. haemolyticus isolates had from 5 to more than 20 additional chromosomal bands that hybridized with pGO198; none of 21 S. aureus isolates had additional hybridizing bands. These data suggest that the additional DNA responsible for the mecR1 deletion was part of a repetitive, and possibly mobile, element resident in coagulase-negative staphylococci but not in S. aureus. These data also support a hypothesis that the deletion event occurred in a coagulase-negative staphylococcus with subsequent acquisition of the interrupted sequences by S. aureus.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Methicillin resistance determinant mecA is generally transferred by SCCmec elements. However, the mecA gene might not be carried by a SCCmec in a Staphylococcus haemolyticus clinical isolate, WCH1, as no cassette chromosome recombinase genes were detected. Therefore, the genetic context of mecA in WCH1 was investigated. RESULTS: A 40-kb region containing mecA was obtained from WCH1, bounded by orfX at one end and several orfs of S. haemolyticus core chromosome at the other. This 40-kb region was very complex in structure with multiple genetic components that appeared to have different origins. For instance, the 3.7-kb structure adjacent to orfX was almost identical to that on the chromosome of Staphylococcus epidermidis RP62a but was absent from S. haemolyticus JCSC1435. Terminal inverted repeats of SCC were found but no ccr genes could be detected. mecA was bracketed by two copies of IS431, which was flanked by 8-bp direct target repeat sequence (DR). CONCLUSIONS: The presence of 8-bp DR suggests that the two copies of IS431 might have formed a composite transposon for mobilizing mecA. This finding is of significance as multiple copies of IS431 are commonly present in the contexts of mecA, which might have the potential to form various composite transposons that could mediate the mobilization of mecA. This study also provides an explanation for the absence of ccr in some staphylococci isolates carrying mecA.
Project description:Staphylococcus saprophyticus is a uropathogenic bacterium that causes acute uncomplicated urinary tract infections, particularly in female outpatients. We investigated the dissemination and antimicrobial susceptibilities of 101 S. saprophyticus isolates from the genitourinary tracts of patients in Japan. Eight of these isolates were mecA positive and showed beta-lactam resistance. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed that only some isolates were isogenic, indicating that the mecA gene was apparently acquired independently by mecA-positive isolates through staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec). Type determination of SCCmec by multiplex PCR showed a nontypeable element in the eight mecA-positive isolates. Sequence analysis of the entire SCCmec element from a prototype S. saprophyticus strain revealed that it was nontypeable with the current SCCmec classification due to the novel composition of the class A mec gene complex (IS431-mecA-mecR1-mecI genes) and the ccrA1/ccrB3 gene complex. Intriguingly, the attachment sites of SCCmec are similar to those of type I SCCmec in S. aureus NCTC 10442. Furthermore, the genes around the mec gene complex are similar to those of type II/III SCCmec in S. aureus, while those around the ccr gene complex are similar to those of SCC15305RM found in S. saprophyticus ATCC 15305. In comparison with known SCCmec elements, this S. saprophyticus SCCmec is a novel type.
Project description:Although the staphylococcal methicillin resistance determinant, mecA, resides on a mobile genetic element, staphylococcus cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec), its distribution in nature is limited to as few as five clusters of related methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clones. To investigate the potential role of the host chromosome in clonal restriction of the methicillin resistance determinant, we constructed plasmid pYK20, carrying intact mecA, and introduced it into several methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strains, five of which were naive hosts (i.e., mecA not previously resident on the host chromosome) and five of which were experienced hosts (i.e., methicillin-susceptible variants of MRSA strains from which SCCmec was excised). We next assessed the effect of the recipient background on the methicillin resistance phenotype by population analysis, by assaying the mecA expression of PBP2a by Western blot analysis, and by screening for mutations affecting mecA. Each experienced host transformed with pYK20 had a resistance phenotype and expressed PBP2a similar to that of the parent with chromosomal SCCmec, but naive hosts transformed with pYK20 selected against its expression, indicative of a host barrier. Either inducible beta-lactamase regulatory genes blaR1-blaI or homologous regulatory genes mecR1-mecI, which control mecA expression, acted as compensatory elements, permitting the maintenance and expression of plasmid-carried mecA.