A community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strain known as pulsed-field type USA300 (USA300) is epidemic in the United States. Previous comparative whole-genome sequencing studies demonstrated that there has been recent clonal emergence of a subset of USA300 isolates, which comprise the epidemic clone. Although the core genomes of these isolates are closely related, the level of diversity among USA300 plasmids was not resolved. Inasmuch as these plasmids might contribute to significant gene diversity among otherwise closely related USA300 isolates, we performed de novo sequencing of endogenous plasmids from 10 previously characterized USA300 clinical isolates obtained from different geographic locations in the United States. All isolates tested contained small (2- to 3-kb) and/or large (27- to 30-kb) plasmids. The large plasmids encoded heavy metal and/or antimicrobial resistance elements, including those that confer resistance to cadmium, bacitracin, macrolides, penicillin, kanamycin, and streptothricin, although all isolates were sensitive to minocycline, doxycycline, trimethoprim- sulfamethoxazole, vancomycin, teicoplanin, and linezolid. One of the USA300 isolates contained an archaic plasmid that encoded staphylococcal enterotoxins R, J, and P. Notably, the large plasmids (27 to 28 kb) from 8 USA300 isolates - those that comprise the epidemic USA300 clone - were virtually identical (99% identity) and similar to a large plasmid from strain USA300-TCH1516 (a previously sequenced USA300 strain from Houston, TX). These plasmids are largely divergent from the 37-kb plasmid of FPR3757, the first sequenced USA300 strain. The high level of plasmid sequence identity among the majority of closely related USA300 isolates is consistent with the recent clonal emergence hypothesis for USA300.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)