The impact of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) on the severity of complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSI) caused by Staphylococcus aureus is controversial. We evaluated potential associations between clinical outcome and PVL presence in both methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates from patients enrolled in two large, multinational phase three clinical trials assessing ceftaroline fosamil for the treatment of cSSSI (the CANVAS 1 and 2 programs). Isolates from all microbiologically evaluable patients with monomicrobial MRSA or MSSA infections (n = 473) were genotyped by PCR for pvl and underwent pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Genes encoding pvl were present in 266/473 (56.2%) isolates. Infections caused by pvl-positive S. aureus were associated with younger patient age, North American acquisition, and presence of major abscesses (P<0.001 for each). Cure rates of patients infected with pvl-positive and pvl-negative S. aureus were similar overall (93.6% versus 92.8%; P = 0.72), and within MRSA-infected (94.5% vs. 93.1%; P = 0.67) and MSSA-infected patients (92.2% vs. 92.7%; P = 1.00). This finding persisted after adjustment for multiple patient characteristics. Outcomes were also similar when USA300 PVL+ and non-USA300 PVL+ infections were compared. The results of this contemporary, international study suggest that pvl presence was not the primary determinant of outcome in patients with cSSSI due to either MRSA or MSSA.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) threatens public health worldwide, and epidemiologic data suggest that the Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) expressed by most CA-MRSA strains could contribute to severe human infections, particularly in young and immunocompetent hosts. PVL is proposed to induce cytolysis or apoptosis of phagocytes. However, recent comparisons of isogenic CA-MRSA strains with or without PVL have revealed no differences in human PMN cytolytic activity. Furthermore, many of the mouse studies performed to date have failed to demonstrate a virulence role for PVL, thereby provoking the question: does PVL have a mechanistic role in human infection? In this report, we evaluated the contribution of PVL to severe skin and soft tissue infection. We generated PVL mutants in CA-MRSA strains isolated from patients with necrotizing fasciitis and used these tools to evaluate the pathogenic role of PVL in vivo. In a model of necrotizing soft tissue infection, we found PVL caused significant damage of muscle but not the skin. Muscle injury was linked to induction of pro-inflammatory chemokines KC, MIP-2, and RANTES, and recruitment of neutrophils. Tissue damage was most prominent in young mice and in those strains of mice that more effectively cleared S. aureus, and was not significant in older mice and mouse strains that had a more limited immune response to the pathogen. PVL mediated injury could be blocked by pretreatment with anti-PVL antibodies. Our data provide new insights into CA-MRSA pathogenesis, epidemiology and therapeutics. PVL could contribute to the increased incidence of myositis in CA-MRSA infection, and the toxin could mediate tissue injury by mechanisms other than direct killing of phagocytes.
The impact of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) on the outcome in Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia is controversial. We genotyped S. aureus isolates from patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) enrolled in two registrational multinational clinical trials for the genetic elements carrying pvl and 30 other virulence genes. A total of 287 isolates (173 methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA] and 114 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus [MSSA] isolates) from patients from 127 centers in 34 countries for whom clinical outcomes of cure or failure were available underwent genotyping. Of these, pvl was detected by PCR and its product confirmed in 23 isolates (8.0%) (MRSA, 18/173 isolates [10.4%]; MSSA, 5/114 isolates [4.4%]). The presence of pvl was not associated with a higher risk for clinical failure (4/23 [17.4%] versus 48/264 [18.2%]; P = 1.00) or mortality. These findings persisted after adjustment for multiple potential confounding variables. No significant associations between clinical outcome and (i) presence of any of the 30 other virulence genes tested, (ii) presence of specific bacterial clone, (iii) levels of alpha-hemolysin, or (iv) delta-hemolysin production were identified. This study suggests that neither pvl presence nor in vitro level of alpha-hemolysin production is the primary determinant of outcome among patients with HAP caused by S. aureus.
New strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which frequently carry the Panton–Valentine leukocidin (PVL) genes have been recognized to cause invasive infections in otherwise healthy children and adults. However, the epidemiology of PVL-positive MRSA infections has not been described in children or adults with cancer.
The epidemiology of MRSA infections in patients with cancer was retrospectively studied from 2000 to 2007. Molecular typing was performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for the detection of the PVL genes. Staphylococcus cassette chromosome (SCC) mec and spa typing was performed on all PVL-positive isolates.
A total of 88 MRSA isolates from clinically distinct infectious episodes were collected from 88 patients with cancer during the 8-year study period. Infections were predominant in the skin and soft tissues (SSTI; P =0.0003). PVL-positive isolates, bearing the type IV SCCmec element, encoding the gene for methicillin resistance, increased significantly during this period (P =0.043) and comprised 35 of 88 (40%) MRSA isolates. Of these 35 isolates, 32 belonged to spa type 8 and were USA300 genotype. Patients infected with PVL-positive strains did not have more SSTI (P =0.166) or bacteremia (P =0.510) as compared to patients with PVL-negative strains. A greater percentage of PVL-positive isolates were susceptible to ciprofloxacin (P =0.006).
PVL-positive MRSA infections are not associated with a higher morbidity as compared to PVL-negative MRSA infections in children with cancer.
cancer; children; methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Panton-Valentine leukocidin
The impact of bacterial genetic characteristics on the outcome of patients with Staphylococcus aureus infections is uncertain. This investigation evaluated potential associations between bacterial genotype and clinical outcome using isolates collected as part of an international phase 2 clinical trial (FAST II) evaluating telavancin for the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSI). Ninety S. aureus isolates from microbiologically evaluable patients with cSSSI enrolled in the FAST II trial from 11 sites in the United States (56 isolates, or 62%) and 7 sites in South Africa (34 isolates, or 38%) were examined for staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec, agr, and the presence of 31 virulence genes and subjected to pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). South African methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates were more likely to carry certain virulence genes, including sdrD (P = 0.01), sea (P < 0.01), and pvl (P = 0.01). All 44 (49%) methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates were from the United States; 37 (84%) were strain USA 300 by PFGE. In the United States, MRSA isolates were more likely than MSSA isolates to carry genes for sdrC (P = 0.03), map/eap (P = 0.05), fnbB (P = 0.11), tst (P = 0.02), sea (P = 0.04), sed (P = 0.04), seg (P = 0.11), sej (P = 0.11), agr (P = 0.09), V8 (P = 0.06), sdrD, sdrE, eta, etb, and see (P < 0.01 for all). MRSA isolates were more often clonal than MSSA isolates by PFGE. Isolates from patients who were cured were significantly more likely to contain the pvl gene than isolates from patients that failed or had indeterminate outcomes (79/84 [94%] versus 3/6 [50%]; P = 0.01). S. aureus strains from different geographic regions have different distributions of virulence genes.
Community-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CO-MRSA) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) are associated with SCCmec IV and Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) genes. CO-MRSA epidemiologic studies suggest that genotypic variation exists within one geographic region. We compared MRSA genotypes and demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with CO-MRSA SSTI between two regional medical centers. We also examined factors associated with SCCmec IV and PVL carriage. A total of 279 MRSA SSTI isolates from 2000 to 2002 at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) and Stanford University Hospital (SUH) were genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and PCR for SCCmec and PVL genes. Medical records were reviewed for clinical characteristics. Ninety-three percent and 69% of MRSA SSTI were caused by CO-MRSA at SFGH and SUH, respectively. Patients with CO-MRSA SSTI at SFGH were more likely to be nonwhite, younger, homeless, and have no previous exposure to health care (P < 0.01). SFGH CO-MRSA strains were more likely to carry SCCmec type IV and PVL genes (90% and 55%, respectively) than SUH strains (29% and 16%, respectively). In multivariate analyses, nonwhite ethnicity was associated with both SCCmec type IV and PVL carriage (odds ratio [OR] of 2.65 and 95% confidence interval [CI] of 1.19 to 5.95 and OR of 1.94 and 95% CI of 1.03 to 3.65, respectively). ST8:USA300:IV became the dominant clone at SFGH, but not at SUH, by 2002. Despite geographic proximity, CO-MRSA SSTI exhibited differing SCCmec types, PVL carriage, and clonal dynamics. CO-MRSA SSTI at SUH were more likely to represent feral isolates of nosocomial origin. Clinicians should assess for nosocomial and community risk factors, realizing that different populations with CO-MRSA SSTI may require separate antimicrobial strategies.
The epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, in particular with Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-positive strains, has not been well characterized in children and young adults with HIV infection. It is not known if PVL-positive strains of MRSA cause an increased morbidity in this population compared to PVL-negative strains. The purpose of this study was to retrospectively analyze the epidemiology of PVL-positive and PVL-negative MRSA infections in children and young adults with HIV from 2000 to 2007. Molecular typing was performed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for detection of the PVL genes. Staphylococcus Cassette Chromosome (SCC) mec and spa typing were performed on all PVL-positive isolates. The number of HIV patients with MRSA infection increased significantly between 2000 and 2007 (p = 0.0015). Twenty seven (87%) of the 31 MRSA isolates were from skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI). Clindamycin resistance was observed in 19% of the MRSA isolates. PVL-positive isolates bearing the type IV SCC mec element comprised 16 of 31 (52%) MRSA isolates. All the PVL-positive isolates belonged to the USA300 pulsed-field type. There was no difference in the mean CD4 count and HIV viral load between patients with PVL-positive and PVL-negative MRSA infections. PVL-positive MRSA infections were associated with more SSTI (p = 0.043) but not with increased morbidity or a higher risk of complications compared to PVL-negative MRSA infections in children and young adults with HIV.
Telavancin is a novel antibiotic being investigated for the treatment of serious infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria, including complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSI) and pneumonia. This once-daily intravenous lipoglycopeptide exerts rapid bactericidal activity via a dual mechanism of action. It is intended for use to combat infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and other Gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant and vancomycin-intermediate strains of S. aureus (MRSA and VISA, respectively). Vancomycin is the current gold standard in treating serious infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria, especially MRSA. In recent clinical trials, telavancin has shown excellent efficacy in phase II and III multinational, randomized, double-blinded studies of cSSSI. In the phase II FAST 2 study, which compared telavancin 10 mg/kg intravenously q 24 h vs standard therapy (an antistaphylococcal penicillin at 2 g IV q 6 h or vancomycin 1 gm IV q 12 h), the clinical success rate in the telavancin-treated group was 96% vs 94% in the standard therapy group. In two identical phase III trials comparing telavancin versus vancomycin at the doses of the FAST 2 study for cSSSI, the clinical cure rates were 88.3% and 87.1%, respectively. Two additional phase III clinical trials investigating telavancin for use in hospital-acquired pneumonia, caused by Gram-positive bacteria are currently ongoing. Telavancin is currently under regulatory review in both the United States and Europe for the indication of treatment of cSSSI.
telavancin; vancomycin; MRSA
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is increasingly responsible for staphylococcal infections in the community. A large percentage of the community-acquired methicillin-resistant (CA-MRSA) strains in the USA produce Panton–Valentine leukocidin (PVL), which is associated with severe infections. The virulence of the clinical CA-MRSA strain USA300 was compared to that of its isogenic pvl-deleted mutant, and it was shown that PVL contributes to lung and muscle tissue destruction, respectively, in murine necrotizing pneumonia and skin infection models. Mice infected with the USA300 strain developed a dominant anti-PVL response. The PVL subunits were therefore tested as vaccinogens against this isolate, and their vaccine efficacy correlated with both the route of vaccination and infection. These data suggest that PVL is a virulence factor in murine CA-MRSA infections.
CA-MRSA; Panton–Valentine leukocidin; Staphylococcus aureus
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) expressing Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) cause severe skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI), necrotizing pneumonia and other invasive infections. PVL toxin has been implicated as a virulence factor and antibody to a component of this toxin is under investigation as a vaccine candidate. The role of PVL in pathogenesis remains controversial and it is unknown if human serum antibody to PVL modulates infection.
We determined antibody levels to PVL in sera from children aged 0-18 years presenting with PCR-confirmed PVL-positive MRSA SSTI with or without prior MRSA infection or SSTI, PVL-positive MRSA invasive infections, PVL-negative MRSA infections and uninfected controls. We also measured antibody-mediated neutralization of PVL-induced lysis of human polymorphonuclear cells.
Antibody to PVL was present in healthy children reaching adult levels by 4-6 years with a nadir at 4-6 months likely due to loss of maternal antibody. Children with a primary PVL-positive MRSA infection had moderate levels of antibody to PVL that increased following infection. Children with prior MRSA or SSTI infections had high levels of antibody to PVL at the onset of infection. There was no increase in antibody to PVL in this populations’ sera after the onset of infection. Sera from children with PVL-positive MRSA SSTIs, particularly those with prior MRSA or SSTI, and convalescent sera from children with invasive PVL-positive MRSA infection, potently inhibited PVL-induced lysis of PMNs.
Neutralizing antibody to PVL does not protect children against primary or recurrent CA-MRSA SSTI.
Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; Panton-Valentine leukocidin; antibody
Genetically diverse community-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) can harbor a bacteriophage encoding Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) lysogenized into its chromosome (prophage). Six PVL phages (ΦPVL, Φ108PVL, ΦSLT, ΦSa2MW, ΦSa2USA, and ΦSa2958) are known, and single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PVL genes have been reported. We sought to determine the distribution of lysogenized PVL phages among MRSA strains with PVL (PVL-MRSA strains), the PVL gene sequences, and the chromosomal phage insertion sites in 114 isolates comprising nine clones of PVL-MRSA that were selected for maximal underlying genetic diversity. The six PVL phages were identified by PCR; ΦSa2USA was present in the highest number of different lineages (multilocus sequence type clonal complex 1 [CC1], CC5, CC8, and sequence type 93 [ST93]) (n = 37 isolates). Analysis of 92 isolates confirmed that PVL phages inserted into the same chromosomal insertion locus in CC22, -30, and -80 but in a different locus in isolates of CC1, -5, -8, -59, and -88 and ST93 (and CC22 in two isolates). Within the two different loci, specific attachment motifs were found in all cases, although some limited inter- and intralineage sequence variation occurred. Overall, lineage-specific relationships between the PVL phage, the genes that encode the toxin, and the position at which the phage inserts into the host chromosome were identified. These analyses provide important insights into the microepidemiology of PVL-MRSA, will prove a valuable adjunct in outbreak investigation, and may help predict the emergence of new strains.
The Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is a cytotoxin expressed by many methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains that cause community-acquired infections (CA-MRSA). Its role in virulence however, is controversial, with clinical data suggesting that PVL-producing strains may cause less severe disease in humans. PVL is capable of lysing human white blood cells, but at sublytic amounts, PVL can activate protective host immunity in the absence of cell damage. The concentration-dependent reactions it elicits from host cells could be the reason for seemingly contradictory results about PVL's role in virulence. We hypothesized that a key to understanding PVL's action on host cells and, possibly, outcomes from infection is the amount of toxin present, a hypothesis previously supported in studies using a low-inoculum skin infection model, where low levels of PVL augmented innate immune resistance to infection. Here, we present additional data supporting this hypothesis using a mouse model of MRSA pneumonia, wherein we found increased virulence of isogenic Δpvl strains and further confirmed PVL's capacity to activate proinflammatory responses from mouse and human neutrophils and pulmonary cells. Activation was measured as the production of phosphorylated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-8 (IL-8) and KC (from human and mouse cells, respectively), as well as the release of antibacterial factors. Conversely, PVL lowered the levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) produced in active pulmonary infection, while low doses induced apoptosis, suggesting that PVL also has the capacity to regulate inflammation. Our data indicate that, independent of its cytotoxic effects, PVL also plays an important and positive immunomodulatory role during MRSA infections.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a frequent cause of complicated skin and skin structure infections (cSSSI). Patients with MRSA require different empiric treatment than those with non-MRSA infections, yet no accurate tools exist to aid in stratifying the risk for a MRSA cSSSI. We sought to develop a simple bedside decision rule to tailor empiric coverage more accurately.
We conducted a large multicenter (N=62 hospitals) retrospective cohort study in a US-based database between April 2005 and March 2009. All adult initial admissions with ICD-9-CM codes specific to cSSSI were included. Patients admitted with MRSA vs. non-MRSA were compared with regard to baseline demographic, clinical and hospital characteristics. We developed and validated a model to predict the risk of MRSA, and compared its performance via sensitivity, specificity and other classification statistics to the healthcare-associated (HCA) infection risk factors.
Of the 7,183 patients with cSSSI, 2,387 (33.2%) had MRSA. Factors discriminating MRSA from non-MRSA were age, African-American race, no evidence of diabetes mellitus, cancer or renal dysfunction, and prior history of cardiac dysrhythmia. The score ranging from 0 to 8 points exhibited a consistent dose–response relationship. A MRSA score of 5 or higher was superior to the HCA classification in all characteristics, while that of 4 or higher was superior on all metrics except specificity.
MRSA is present in 1/3 of all hospitalized cSSSI. A simple bedside risk score can help discriminate the risk for MRSA vs. other pathogens with improved accuracy compared to the HCA definition.
Skin infection; Prediction rule; Clinical decision; MRSA; Hospitalization
Ninety-six clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from Nigeria were characterized phenotypically and genetically. Twelve multidrug-resistant methicillin (meticillin)-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates carrying a new staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec element and a high proportion of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-positive methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates were observed. The cooccurrence of multidrug-resistant MRSA and PVL-positive MSSA isolates entails the risk of emergence of a multidrug-resistant PVL-positive MRSA clone.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is an emerging public health problem worldwide. Severe invasive infections have been described, mostly associated with the presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). In Portugal limited information exists regarding CA-MRSA infections. In this study we describe the case of a previously healthy 12-year-old female, sport athlete, who presented to the hospital with acetabulofemoral septic arthritis, myositis, fasciitis, acetabulum osteomyelitis, and pneumonia. The MRSA isolated from blood and synovial fluid was PVL negative and staphylococcal enterotoxin type P (SEP) and type L (SEL) positive, with a vancomycin MIC of 1.0 mg/L and resistant to clindamycin and ciprofloxacin. The patient was submitted to multiple surgical drainages and started on vancomycin, rifampicin, and gentamycin. Due to persistence of fever and no microbiological clearance, linezolid was started with improvement. This is one of the few reported cases of severe invasive infection caused by CA-MRSA in Portugal, which was successfully treated with linezolid. In spite of the severity of infection, the MRSA isolate did not produce PVL.
Infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in community-settings, especially with strains carrying the Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) genes, have increased markedly in recent years. Colonization with S.aureus is a risk factor for infection. However, there are few studies that examine colonization and infection with PVL-positive strains of MRSA in cancer patients.
The epidemiology of colonization and infection with MRSA was studied in children with cancer during two time periods: 2000/2001 and 2006/2007. PVL genes were screened and spa typing performed on the isolates.
The prevalence of colonization with MRSA increased from 0.6% in 2000/2001 to 2.9% in 2006/2007(p=0.0003). MRSA colonization at admission was associated with infection (p<0.0001; RR 38.32; 95% CI: 23.36 - 62.84). The prevalence of infection increased from 0.99% in 2000/2001 to 3.78% in 2006-2007 (p=0.0002). Of the 32 colonized patients, 18 (56%) had infection. None of the 14 colonized but non-infected patients had dual colonization of nares and rectum, while 8 of the 18 infected patients had colonization of both of these sites (p=0.004). Ten patients (31%) were colonized with PVL-positive strains. Patients colonized with PVL-positive strains were more likely to be colonized both in the nares and rectum (p=0.005), and more likely to have infection (p=0.001). Recurrent MRSA infections were seen in 22% of patients.
An increasing prevalence of colonization with MRSA was observed in children with cancer at our institution. Colonization with MRSA especially with PVL-positive strains was associated with infection.
Colonization; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Children; Cancer; Panton-Valentine Leukocidin
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has recently caused epidemic outbreaks of community-associated (CA) skin infections. The infecting strains frequently contain the genes encoding the staphylococcal toxin, Panton–Valentine leukocidin (PVL). On that ground, the use of PVL-based vaccines has been proposed for the treatment of CA-MRSA infections, despite experimental and epidemiological evidence that does not support a major role of the PVL toxin in CA-MRSA skin disease. Hermos et al. show that antibodies to PVL do not protect from CA-MRSA skin infections in children, strongly suggesting that PVL-based immunization is of little benefit for this most frequent disease caused by CA-MRSA.
drug development; MRSA; Panton–Valentine leukocidin; skin infections; Staphylococcus aureus
The role of the pore-forming Staphylococcus aureus toxin Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) in severe necrotizing diseases is debated due to conflicting data from epidemiological studies of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) infections and various murine disease-models. In this study, we used neutrophils isolated from different species to evaluate the cytotoxic effect of PVL in comparison to other staphylococcal cytolytic components. Furthermore, to study the impact of PVL we expressed it heterologously in a non-virulent staphylococcal species and examined pvl-positive and pvl-negative clinical isolates as well as the strain USA300 and its pvl-negative mutant. We demonstrate that PVL induces rapid activation and cell death in human and rabbit neutrophils, but not in murine or simian cells. By contrast, the phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs), a newly identified group of cytolytic staphylococcal components, lack species-specificity. In general, after phagocytosis of bacteria different pvl-positive and pvl-negative staphylococcal strains, expressing a variety of other virulence factors (such as surface proteins), induced cell death in neutrophils, which is most likely associated with the physiological clearing function of these cells. However, the release of PVL by staphylococcal strains caused rapid and premature cell death, which is different from the physiological (and programmed) cell death of neutrophils following phagocytosis and degradation of virulent bacteria. Taken together, our results question the value of infection-models in mice and non-human primates to elucidate the impact of PVL. Our data clearly demonstrate that PVL acts differentially on neutrophils of various species and suggests that PVL has an important cytotoxic role in human neutrophils, which has major implications for the pathogenesis of CA-MRSA infections.
Staphylococcus aureus can cause serious diseases, including necrotizing pneumonia, which often affects young immunocompetent patients and has a high lethality rate. Several clinical studies demonstrated a clear association between this form of pneumonia and S. aureus strains carrying the gene for the pore-forming toxin Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). However, laboratory work, which mainly used murine disease models, has created very contrasting results and often fails to show a pathogenic role for PVL. In this study, we demonstrate that the expression of PVL by staphylococcal strains confers strong and rapid cytotoxic activity against neutrophils. However, this action was basically restricted to human cells and could not be reproduced in murine or Java monkeys’ cells. These results indicate that infection-models in mice and in non-human primates fail to replicate the pathogenic activity of PVL seen in human cells. Our data with human neutrophils clearly show that PVL has a major cytotoxic effect, as the release of PVL by staphylococcal strains caused rapid and premature cell death, which is different from the physiological (and programmed) cell death of neutrophils following phagocytosis and degradation of virulent bacteria. These results have important implications especially for infections with CA-MRSA strains, which often carry the gene for PVL and have spread widely in the community.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strains typically carry genes encoding Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). We used wild-type parental and isogenic PVL-deletion (Δpvl) strains of USA300 (LAC and SF8300) and USA400 (MW2) to test whether PVL alters global gene regulatory networks and contributes to pathogenesis of bacteremia, a hallmark feature of invasive staphylococcal disease. Microarray and proteomic analyses revealed that PVL does not alter gene or protein expression, thereby demonstrating that any contribution of PVL to CA-MRSA pathogenesis is not mediated through interference of global gene regulatory networks. Inasmuch as a direct role for PVL in CA-MRSA pathogenesis remains to be determined, we developed a rabbit bacteremia model of CA-MRSA infection to evaluate the effects of PVL. Following experimental infection of rabbits, an animal species whose granulocytes are more sensitive to the effects of PVL compared with the mouse, we found a contribution of PVL to pathogenesis over the time course of bacteremia. At 24 and 48 hours post infection, PVL appears to play a modest, but measurable role in pathogenesis during the early stages of bacteremic seeding of the kidney, the target organ from which bacteria were not cleared. However, the early survival advantage of this USA300 strain conferred by PVL was lost by 72 hours post infection. These data are consistent with the clinical presentation of rapid-onset, fulminant infection that has been associated with PVL-positive CA-MRSA strains. Taken together, our data indicate a modest and transient positive effect of PVL in the acute phase of bacteremia, thereby providing evidence that PVL contributes to CA-MRSA pathogenesis.
Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strains, which often produce Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL), are increasingly noted worldwide. In this study, we examined 42 MRSA strains (25 PVL-positive [PVL+] strains and 17 PVL-negative [PVL−] strains) isolated in Taiwan for their molecular characteristics. The PVL+ MRSA strains included CA-MRSA strains with multilocus sequence type (ST) 59 (major PVL+ MRSA in Taiwan), its variants, and worldwide CA-MRSA ST30 strains. The PVL− MRSA strains included the pandemic Hungarian MRSA ST239 strain, the Hungarian MRSA ST239 variant, MRSA ST59 (largely hospital-acquired MRSA strains) and its variants, the pandemic New York/Japan MRSA ST5 strain (Japanese type), and the MRSA ST8 strain. The major PVL+ CA-MRSA ST59 strain possessed a tetracycline resistance-conferring (tetK positive) penicillinase plasmid and a drug resistance gene cluster (a possible composite transposon) for multidrug resistance. Moreover, it carried a novel staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) with two distinct ccrC genes (ccrC2-C8). This SCCmec (previously named SCCmec type VT) was tentatively designated SCCmec type VII. Sequencing of the PVL genes revealed the polymorphisms, and the PVL+ CA-MRSA ST59 strain possessed the ST59-specific PVL gene sequence. The data suggest that a significant amount of clonal spread is occurring in Taiwan and that the major PVL+ CA-MRSA ST59Taiwan strain exhibits unique genetic characteristics, such as a novel SCCmec type and an ST59-specific PVL gene sequence.
A total of 412 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains isolated between October 2006 and June 2009, representing a mixed hospital- and community-associated patient population from Mumbai, India, were evaluated. MRSA was characterized by multiplex PCR amplification of the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) gene and the mecA gene, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). PCR results were compared with patient risk factors (CDC guidelines) and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles. A total of 395 MRSA strains were mecA positive, and 224 were PVL gene positive. A total of 97 mecA-positive strains were SCCmec III (25%), 136 were SCCmec IV (34%), and 162 were SCCmec V (41%). All SCCmec III strains were multidrug resistant, and all patients had risk factors. Of the SCCmec IV and V strains, 73% were multidrug susceptible and 72% of the associated patients had no risk factors. The multidrug susceptibility and absence of patient risk factors in 72% of cases with SCCmec IV and SCCmec V MRSA demonstrate the presence of community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) in Mumbai. Twenty-one percent of these patients had risk factors, signifying CA-MRSA infiltration into hospitals. MLST showed clonal expansion of multidrug-susceptible sequence type (ST) 22 (SCCmec IV) and ST 772 (SCCmec V), both of which feature in Asian studies and may be slowly replacing the multidrug-resistant ST 239 (SCCmec III) in hospitals. The PVL gene-positive methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) strains were ST 30 and were postulated to be related to the penicillin-resistant S. aureus phage type 80/81, notorious for its virulence in the 1950s.
Community-acquired necrotizing pneumonia caused by Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-secreting Staphylococcus aureus is a highly lethal infection that mainly affects healthy children and young adults. Both methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) may carry the PVL-phage, but the majority of publications relate to community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) or mixed patient groups. This study focuses on necrotizing pneumonia due to methicillin-sensitive S. aureus strains, with the purpose to determine factors associated with outcome.
We report a patient with PVL secreting MSSA necrotizing pneumonia and performed a systematic review of similar case in the literature. We analyzed factors associated with outcome.
A total of 32 patient descriptions were retained for analysis. Septic shock (p = 0.007), influenza-like prodrome (p = 0.02), and the absence of a previous skin and soft-tissue infection (p = 0.024) were associated with fatal outcome. In multivariate analysis, influenza-like prodrome (odds ratio (OR), 7.44; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.24-44.76; p = 0.028) and absence of previous skin and soft-tissue infection (OR, 0.09; 95% CI, 0.01-0.86; p = 0.036) remained significant predictors of death.
Influenza-like prodrome may be predictive of adverse outcome in PVL-secreting MSSA necrotizing pneumonia. In contrast, previous skin and soft-tissue infection may be associated with improved prognosis.
The epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is continuously changing. Iceland has a low incidence of MRSA. A “search and destroy” policy (screening patients with defined risk factors and attempting eradication in carriers) has been implemented since 1991. Clinical and microbiological data of all MRSA patients from the years 2000 to 2008 were collected prospectively. Isolates were characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), sequencing of the repeat region of the Staphylococcus protein A gene (spa typing), staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing, and screening for the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) gene. Two hundred twenty-six infected (60%) or colonized (40%) individuals were detected (annual incidence 2.5 to 16/100,000). From 2000 to 2003, two health care-associated outbreaks dominated (spa types t037 and t2802), which were successfully controlled with extensive infection control measures. After 2004, an increasing number of community-associated (CA) cases without relation to the health care system occurred. A great variety of clones (40 PFGE types and 49 spa types) were found, reflecting an influx of MRSA from abroad. The USA300 and Southwest Pacific (SWP) clones were common. SCCmec type IV was most common (72%), and 38% of the isolates were PVL positive. The incidence of MRSA in Iceland has increased since 1999 but remains low and has been stable in the last years. The search and destroy policy was effective to control MRSA in the health care setting. However, MRSA in Iceland is now shifting into the community, challenging the current Icelandic guidelines, which are tailored to the health care system.
Increases in the incidence and severity of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections have spawned efforts to define unique virulence properties among prevalent strains. Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), a pore-forming cytotoxin, has garnered attention due to its epidemiologic association with CA-MRSA. Using the clinical isolate LAC, representative of the epidemic USA300 strain, and its isogenic PVL-negative strain in murine models of staphylococcal skin infection and pneumonia, we have extended recent studies by assessing the contribution of PVL in the BALB/c genetic background. The data herein support the observation that PVL does not contribute to the pathogenesis of staphylococcal infection of mice.
Community-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA); Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL); USA300; skin infection; pneumonia; animal models
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has emerged as an important cause of skin and soft-tissue infections (SSTI). The understanding of the molecular epidemiology and virulence of MRSA continues to expand. From January 2005 to December 2005, we screened soldiers for MRSA nasal colonization, administered a demographic questionnaire, and monitored them prospectively for SSTI. All MRSA isolates underwent molecular analysis, which included pulsed-filed gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and PCR for Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), the arginine catabolic mobile element (ACME), and the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec). Of the 3,447 soldiers screened, 134 (3.9%) had MRSA colonization. Of the 3,066 (89%) who completed the study, 39 developed culture-confirmed MRSA abscesses. Clone USA300 represented 53% of colonizing isolates but was responsible for 97% of the abscesses (P < 0.001). Unlike colonizing isolates, isolates positive for USA300, PVL, ACME, and type IV SCCmec were significantly associated with MRSA abscess isolates. As determined by multivariate analysis, risk factors for MRSA colonization were a history of SSTI and a history of hospitalization. Although various MRSA strains may colonize soldiers, USA300 is the most virulent when evaluated prospectively, and PVL, ACME, and type IV SCCmec are associated with these abscesses.