Journal Article

The Distribution of Mobile Genetic Elements (MGEs) in MRSA CC398 Is Associated with Both Host and Country

Alex J. McCarthy, Adam A. Witney, Katherine A. Gould, Arshnee Moodley, Luca Guardabassi, Andreas Voss, Olivier Denis, Els M. Broens, Jason Hinds and Jodi A. Lindsay

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 3, issue , pages 1164-1174
Published in print January 2011 |
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex (CC) 398 has emerged from pigs to cause human infections in Europe and North America. We used a new 62-strain S. aureus microarray (SAM-62) to compare genomes of isolates from three geographical areas (Belgium, Denmark, and Netherlands) to understand how CC398 colonizes different mammalian hosts. The core genomes of 44 pig isolates and 32 isolates from humans did not vary. However, mobile genetic element (MGE) distribution was variable including SCCmec. φ3 bacteriophage and human specificity genes (chp, sak, scn) were found in invasive human but not pig isolates. SaPI5 and putative ruminant specificity gene variants (vwb and scn) were common but not pig specific. Virulence and resistance gene carriage was host associated but country specific. We conclude MGE exchange is frequent in CC398 and greatest among populations in close contact. This feature may help determine epidemiological associations among isolates of the same lineage.

Keywords: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; host specificity; mobile genetic elements; zoonoses; bacteriophages

Journal Article.  5164 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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