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1.  Heterogeneous Vancomycin-Intermediate Susceptibility Phenotype in Bloodstream Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Isolates from an International Cohort of Patients with Infective Endocarditis: Prevalence, Genotype, and Clinical Significance 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2009;200(9):1355-1366.
Background
The significance of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) is unknown. Using a multinational collection of isolates from methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infective endocarditis (IE), we characterized IE patients with and without hVISA, and genotyped the infecting strains.
Methods
MRSA bloodstream isolates from 65 patients with definite IE from 8 countries underwent PCR for 31 virulence genes, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing. hVISA was defined using population analysis profiling (PAP).
Results
Nineteen (29.2%) of 65 MRSA IE isolates exhibited hVISA by PAP. Isolates from Oceania and Europe were more likely to exhibit hVISA than isolates from the United States (77.8% vs. 35.0% vs. 13.9%; P < .001). The prevalence of hVISA was higher among isolates with a vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration of 2 mg/L (P = .026). hVISA-infected patients were more likely to have persistent bacteremia (68.4% vs. 37.0%; P = .029) and heart failure (47.4% vs. 19.6%; P = .033). Mortality of hVISA- and non-hVISA-infected patients did not differ (42.1% vs. 34.8%, P = .586). hVISA and non-hVISA isolates were genotypically similar.
Conclusions
In these analyses, hVISA occurred in over one-quarter of MRSA IE isolates, was associated with certain IE complications, and varied in frequency by geographic region.
doi:10.1086/606027
PMCID: PMC3600359  PMID: 19811099
hVISA; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; endocarditis; genotype
2.  Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Endocarditis Isolates Are Associated With Clonal Complex 30 Genotype and a Distinct Repertoire of Enterotoxins and Adhesins 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2011;204(5):704-713.
Background. Using multinational collections of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) isolates from infective endocarditis (IE) and soft tissue infections (STIs), we sought to (1) validate the finding that S. aureus in clonal complex (CC) 30 is associated with hematogenous complications and (2) test the hypothesis that specific genetic characteristics in S. aureus are associated with infection severity.
Methods. IE and STI isolates from 2 cohorts were frequency matched by geographic origin. Isolates underwent spa typing to infer CC and multiplex polymerase chain reaction for presence of virulence genes.
Results. 114 isolate pairs were genotyped. IE isolates were more likely to be CC30 (19.5% vs 6.2%; P = .005) and to contain 3 adhesins (clfB, cna, map/eap; P < .0001 for all) and 5 enterotoxins (tst, sea, sed, see, and sei; P ≤ .005 for all). CC30 isolates were more likely to contain cna, tst, sea, see, seg, and chp (P < .05 for all).
Conclusions. MSSA IE isolates were significantly more likely to be CC30 and to possess a distinct repertoire of virulence genes than MSSA STI isolates from the same region. The genetic basis of this association requires further study.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jir389
PMCID: PMC3156104  PMID: 21844296
3.  Genotypic Diversity of Coagulase-Negative Staphylococci Causing Endocarditis: a Global Perspective▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(5):1780-1784.
Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are important causes of infective endocarditis (IE), but their microbiological profiles are poorly described. We performed DNA target sequencing and susceptibility testing for 91 patients with definite CNS IE who were identified from the International Collaboration on Endocarditis—Microbiology, a large, multicenter, multinational consortium. A hierarchy of gene sequences demonstrated great genetic diversity within CNS from patients with definite endocarditis that represented diverse geographic regions. In particular, rpoB sequence data demonstrated unique genetic signatures with the potential to serve as an important tool for global surveillance.
doi:10.1128/JCM.02405-07
PMCID: PMC2395089  PMID: 18367572
4.  Target Gene Sequencing To Characterize the Penicillin G Susceptibility of Neisseria meningitidis▿  
Clinical isolates of Neisseria meningitidis with reduced susceptibility to penicillin G (intermediate isolates, PenI) harbor alterations in the penA gene encoding the penicillin binding protein 2 (PBP2). A 402-bp DNA fragment in the 3′ half of penA was sequenced from a collection of 1,670 meningococcal clinical isolates from 22 countries that spanned 60 years. Phenotyping, genotyping, and the determination of MICs of penicillin G were also performed. A total of 139 different penA alleles were detected with 38 alleles that were highly related, clustered together in maximum-likelihood analysis and corresponded to the penicillin G-susceptible isolates. The remaining 101 penA alleles were highly diverse, corresponded to different genotypes or phenotypes, and accounted for 38% of isolates, but no clonal expansion was detected. Analysis of the altered alleles that were represented by at least five isolates showed high correlation with the PenI phenotype. The deduced amino acid sequence of the corresponding PBP2 comprised five amino acid residues that were always altered. This correlation was not complete for rare alleles, suggesting that other mechanisms may also be involved in conferring reduced susceptibility to penicillin. Evidence of mosaic structures through events of interspecies recombination was also detected in altered alleles. A new website was created based on the data from this work (http://neisseria.org/nm/typing/penA). These data argue for the use of penA sequencing to identify isolates with reduced susceptibility to penicillin G and as a tool to improve typing of meningococcal isolates, as well as to analyze DNA exchange among Neisseria species.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00412-07
PMCID: PMC1932518  PMID: 17517841

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