[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Treatment of infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus is often confounded by the bacterium's ability to develop resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) arises through the acquisition of staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec), a genomic island containing the methicillin resistance determinant, mecA. In contrast, resistance to vancomycin can result from exposure to the drug, a mechanism that is not dependent upon a gene acquisition event. Here we describe three MRSA strains that became resistant to vancomycin during passage in the presence of increasing concentrations of the drug. In each case two derivative strains were isolated, one that had lost mecA and one that retained mecA during passage. Strain 5836VR lost mecA by the site-specific chromosomal excision of SCCmec, while the other two strains (strains 3130VR and VP32) deleted portions of their SCCmec elements in a manner that appeared to involve IS431. Conversion to vancomycin resistance caused a decrease in the growth rate that was partially compensated for by the deletion of mecA. In mixed-culture competition experiments, vancomycin-resistant strains that lacked mecA readily outcompeted their mecA-containing counterparts, suggesting that the loss of mecA during conversion to vancomycin resistance was advantageous to the organism.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 05/2008; 52(4):1221-9. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus becomes resistant to methicillin by acquiring a genomic island, known as staphylococcal chromosome cassette mec (SCCmec), which contains the methicillin resistance determinant, mecA. SCCmec is site-specifically integrated into the staphylococcal chromosome at a locus known as the SCCmec attachment site (attB). In an effort to gain a better understanding of the potential that methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) isolates have for acquiring SCCmec, the nucleotide sequences of attB and surrounding DNA regions were examined in a diverse collection of 42 MSSA isolates. The chromosomal region surrounding attB varied among the isolates studied and appears to be a common insertion point for acquired foreign DNA. Insertions of up to 15.1 kb were found containing open reading frames with homology to enterotoxin genes, restriction-modification systems, transposases, and several sequences that have not been previously described in staphylococci. Two groups, containing eight and four isolates, had sequences found in known SCCmec elements, suggesting SCCmec elements may have evolved through repeated DNA insertions at this locus. In addition, the attB sequences of the majority of MSSA isolates in this collection differ from the attB sequences of strains for which integrase-mediated SCCmec insertion or excision has been demonstrated, suggesting that some S. aureus isolates may lack the ability to site-specifically integrate SCCmec into their chromosomes.
Journal of bacteriology 03/2008; 190(4):1276-83. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The gene encoding resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics in the staphylococci is found on the chromosome in a genomic island designated staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec, or SCCmec. In addition to the resistance gene mecA, SCCmec also contains site-specific recombinase genes that are capable of catalyzing the chromosomal excision and reintegration of SCCmec. SCCmec is found in five major isotypes partially defined by the recombinase genes present, either ccrAB or ccrC. Of these, SCCmec type IV is presumed to be mobile in the environment, and this mobility may be partially responsible for the rise in community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcal infections. In this study, we investigate the presumptive first step in type IV SCCmec mobility: chromosomal excision of the element. CcrAB from a panel of six Staphylococcus aureus and four Staphylococcus epidermidis strains were able to catalyze chromosomal excision of SCCmec types I and II, indicating that these proteins maintain recombinase activity despite varying by up to 3.7% at the amino acid level. Excision of type IV SCCmec was not universally seen, as a subset of S. aureus strains with type IV SCCmec did not excise their element. These strains are all highly related and represent a lineage of successful community-associated pathogens. In addition, the inability to excise SCCmec in these strains is associated with the insertion of a presumptive mobile element containing the gene for staphylococcal enterotoxin H (seh) immediately downstream of SCCmec on the chromosome. Acquisition of this mobile element, containing a known virulence gene, appears to have stabilized the chromosomal integration of the methicillin resistance gene in these strains.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 09/2006; 50(8):2782-8. · 4.57 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Factor H (fH) is an important regulator of the alternative complement cascade. Several human pathogens have been shown to bind fH to their surface, a process that facilitates immune evasion or cell to cell interaction. Among the pathogens that bind fH are some Borrelia species associated with Lyme disease and relapsing fever. The fH-binding proteins of the Lyme spirochetes form two classes (I and II). In Borrelia burgdorferi B31MI, class I includes the outer surface protein E (OspE) paralogs, L39, N38, and P38, whereas the class II group includes A68 and additional proteins that have not yet been identified. To identify the OspE determinants involved in fH and OspE-targeting infection-induced Ab (iAb) binding, deletion, random, and site-directed mutagenesis of L39 were performed. Mutations in several different regions of L39 abolished fH and or iAb binding, indicating that separable domains and residues of OspE are required for ligand binding. Some of the mutants that lost the ability to bind fH, iAb, or both had only a single amino acid change. Site-directed mutagenesis of three putative coiled coil motifs of OspE revealed that these higher order structures are required for fH binding but not for iAb binding. The data presented within demonstrate that the binding of fH and iAb to the OspE protein is mediated by higher order structures and protein conformation. These studies advance our understanding of fH binding as a virulence mechanism and facilitate ongoing efforts to use fH-binding proteins in the development of microbial vaccines.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2005; 173(12):7471-80. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SCCmec is a mobile genetic element that carries the gene (mecA) mediating methicillin resistance in staphylococci. For Staphylococcus aureus, four SCCmec types have been described, one (type IV) of which has been associated with newly identified community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus. However, the distribution of SCCmec types among S. epidermidis is not known. SCCmec typing of a collection of 44 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) isolates recovered between 1973 and 1983 from the blood of patients with prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) was performed by PCR amplification of key genetic elements (mecA, mecI, IS1272, and ccrAB). Of the 44 isolates, 1 (2%) harbored SCCmec type I, 15 (34%) harbored type II, 12 (28%) harbored type III, and 16 (36%) harbored type IV. The complete nucleotide sequence of SCCmec type IV was determined for 16 isolates and found to be identical in size (24 kb) and 98% homologous to DNA sequences published for S. aureus. Type IV SCCmec was also common (5 of 10 isolates) among a geographically dispersed collection of 10 recent (1998 to 2001) S. epidermidis bloodstream isolates. Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) (using the same seven genes presently employed for S. aureus MLST) of these MRSE isolates and of 10 additional recent geographically dispersed methicillin-susceptible isolates demonstrated that all 16 PVE isolates and 2 of 5 recent isolates harboring type IV SCCmec were in three related clonal groups. All three MSSE PVE isolates recovered from patients between 1976 and 1979 were in the same clonal groups as type IV SCCmec MRSE isolates. These data support the hypothesis of intra- and interspecies transfer of type IV SCCmec and suggest that there are clonal associations in S. epidermidis that correlate with SCCmec type.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 12/2003; 47(11):3574-9. · 4.57 Impact Factor