Detection of heterogeneous vancomycin intermediate resistance in MRSA isolates from Latin America

Betsy E. Castro, Maritza Berrio, Monica L. Vargas, Lina P. Carvajal, Lina V. Millan, Rafael Rios, Angie K. Hernandez, Sandra Rincon, Paola Cubides, Erika Forero, An Dinh, Carlos Seas, Jose M. Munita, Cesar A. Arias, Jinnethe Reyes, Lorena Diaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Vancomycin is a common first-line option for MRSA infections. The heterogeneous vancomycinintermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) phenotype is associated with therapeutic failure. However, hVISA isolates are usually reported as vancomycin susceptible by routine susceptibility testing procedures. Objectives: To detect and characterize the hVISA phenotype in MRSA isolates causing infections in nine Latin American countries. Methods: We evaluated a total of 1189 vancomycin-susceptible MRSA isolates recovered during 2006 08 and 2011 14. After an initial screening of hVISA using glycopeptide-supplemented agar strategies, the detection of hVISA was performed by Etest (GRD) and Macro-method (MET). Isolates deemed to be hVISA were subjected to population analysis profile/AUC (PAP/AUC) and WGS for further characterization. Finally, we interrogated alterations in predicted proteins associated with the development of the VISA phenotype in both hVISA and vancomycin-susceptible S. aureus (VSSA) genomes. Results: A total of 39 MRSA isolates (3.3%) were classified as hVISA (1.4% and 5.6% in MRSA recovered from 2006 08 and 2011 14, respectively). Most of the hVISA strains (95%) belonged to clonal complex (CC) 5. Only 6/39 hVISA isolates were categorized as hVISA by PAP/AUC, with 6 other isolates close (0.87 0.89) to the cut-off (0.9). The majority of the 39 hVISA isolates exhibited the Leu-14!Ile (90%) and VraT Glu-156!Gly (90%) amino acid substitutions in WalK. Additionally, we identified 10 substitutions present only in hVISA isolates, involving WalK, VraS, RpoB and RpoC proteins. Conclusions: The hVISA phenotype exhibits low frequency in Latin America. Amino acid substitutions in proteins involved in cell envelope homeostasis and RNA synthesis were commonly identified. Our results suggest that Etest-based methods are an important alternative for the detection of hVISA clinical isolates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2424-2431
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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