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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Virus and Prion Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #319836

Research Project: STRATEGIES TO CONTROL AND PREVENT BACTERIAL INFECTIONS IN SWINE

Location: Virus and Prion Research

Title: Comparative prevalence of immune evasion complex genes associated with beta-hemolysin converting bacteriophages in MRSA ST5 isolates from swine, swine facilities, humans with swine contact, and humans with no swine contact

Author
item HAU, SAMANTHA - Iowa State University
item SUN, JISUN - University Of Minnesota
item DAVIES, PETER - University Of Minnesota
item FRANA, TIMOTHY - Iowa State University
item Nicholson, Tracy

Submitted to: PLoS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/27/2015
Publication Date: 11/10/2015
Citation: Hau, S.J., Sun, J., Davies, P.R., Frana, T.S., Nicholson, T.L. 2015. Comparative prevalence of immune evasion complex genes associated with beta-hemolysin converting bacteriophages in MRSA ST5 isolates from swine, swine facilities, humans with swine contact, and humans with no swine contact. PLoS One. 10(11):e0142832.

Interpretive Summary: Livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) draws concern from the public health community because in some countries these organisms may represent the largest reservoir of MRSA outside hospital settings. Recent studies indicate LA-MRSA strains from swine are more genetically diverse than the first reported sequence type ST398. In the US, a diverse population of LA-MRSA is found including organisms of the ST398, ST9, and ST5 lineages. Occurrence of ST5 MRSA in swine is of particular concern since ST5 is among the most prevalent lineages causing clinical infections in humans. The prominence of ST5 in clinical disease is believed to result from acquisition of bacteriophages containing virulence or host-adapted genes including the immune-evasion cluster (IEC) genes carried by beta-hemolysin converting bacteriophages, whose absence in LA-MRSA ST398 is thought to contribute to reduced rates of human infection and transmission associated with this lineage. In this report we demonstrate that the immune-evasion cluster (IEC) genes carried by beta -hemolysin converting bacteriophages were not present in any of the tested methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) sequence type (ST5) strains from agricultural sources. Further, the beta -hemolysin gene was intact in these strains, indicating the bacteriophage’s absence. In contrast, the prevalence of the beta -hemolysin converting bacteriophage in MRSA ST5 strains from humans with no exposure to swine was 90.4%. The absence of beta -hemolysin converting bacteriophage in LA-MRSA ST5 isolates provides genetic evidence indicating Livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) ST5 isolates harbor a reduced capacity to cause severe disease in immunocompetent humans. This information is important to public health professional, veterinarians, producers, and consumers.

Technical Abstract: Livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) draws concern from the public health community because in some countries these organisms may represent the largest reservoir of MRSA outside hospital settings. Recent studies indicate LA-MRSA strains from swine are more genetically diverse than the first reported sequence type ST398. In the US, a diverse population of LA-MRSA is found including organisms of the ST398, ST9, and ST5 lineages. Occurrence of ST5 MRSA in swine is of particular concern since ST5 is among the most prevalent lineages causing clinical infections in humans. The prominence of ST5 in clinical disease is believed to result from acquisition of bacteriophages containing virulence or host-adapted genes including the immune-evasion cluster (IEC) genes carried by beta-hemolysin converting bacteriophages, whose absence in LA-MRSA ST398 is thought to contribute to reduced rates of human infection and transmission associated with this lineage. The goal of this study was to investigate the prevalence of IEC genes associated with beta-hemolysin converting bacteriophages in MRSA ST5 isolates obtained from agricultural sources, including swine, swine facilities, and humans with short- or long-term swine exposure. To gain a broader perspective, the prevalence of these genes in LA-MRSA ST5 strains was compared to the prevalence in clinical MRSA ST5 strains from humans with no known exposure to swine. IEC genes were not present in any of the tested MRSA ST5 strains from agricultural sources and the beta-hemolysin gene was intact in these strains, indicating the bacteriophage's absence. In contrast, the prevalence of the beta-hemolysin converting bacteriophage in MRSA ST5 strains from humans with no exposure to swine was 90.4%. The absence of beta-hemolysin converting bacteriophage in LA-MRSA ST5 isolates is consistent with previous reports evaluating ST398 strains and provides genetic evidence indicating LA-MRSA ST5 isolates may harbor a reduced capacity to cause severe disease in immunocompetent humans.