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author:("stegner, Marc")
1.  Origin and Evolution of European Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
mBio  2014;5(5):e01044-14.
ABSTRACT
Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) was recognized in Europe and worldwide in the late 1990s. Within a decade, several genetically and geographically distinct CA-MRSA lineages carrying the small SCCmec type IV and V genetic elements and the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) emerged around the world. In Europe, the predominant CA-MRSA strain belongs to clonal complex 80 (CC80) and is resistant to kanamycin/amikacin and fusidic acid. CC80 was first reported in 1993 but was relatively rare until the late 1990s. It has since been identified throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, with recent sporadic reports in sub-Saharan Africa. While strongly associated with skin and soft tissue infections, it is rarely found among asymptomatic carriers. Methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) CC80 strains are extremely rare except in sub-Saharan Africa. In the current study, we applied whole-genome sequencing to a global collection of both MSSA and MRSA CC80 isolates. Phylogenetic analyses strongly suggest that the European epidemic CA-MRSA lineage is derived from a PVL-positive MSSA ancestor from sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the tree topology suggests a single acquisition of both the SCCmec element and a plasmid encoding the fusidic acid resistance determinant. Four canonical SNPs distinguish the derived CA-MRSA lineage and include a nonsynonymous mutation in accessory gene regulator C (agrC). These changes were associated with a star-like expansion into Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa in the early 1990s, including multiple cases of cross-continent imports likely driven by human migrations.
IMPORTANCE
With increasing levels of CA-MRSA reported from most parts of the Western world, there is a great interest in understanding the origin and factors associated with the emergence of these epidemic lineages. To trace the origin, evolution, and dissemination pattern of the European CA-MRSA clone (CC80), we sequenced a global collection of strains of the S. aureus CC80 lineage. Our study determined that a single descendant of a PVL-positive methicillin-sensitive ancestor circulating in sub-Saharan Africa rose to become the dominant CA-MRSA clone in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. In the transition from a methicillin-susceptible lineage to a successful CA-MRSA clone, it simultaneously became resistant to fusidic acid, a widely used antibiotic for skin and soft tissue infections, thus demonstrating the importance of antibiotic selection in the success of this clone. This finding furthermore highlights the significance of horizontal gene acquisitions and underscores the combined importance of these factors for the success of CA-MRSA.
doi:10.1128/mBio.01044-14
PMCID: PMC4173770  PMID: 25161186
2.  The Epidemic of Extended-Spectrum-β-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli ST131 Is Driven by a Single Highly Pathogenic Subclone, H30-Rx 
mBio  2013;4(6):e00377-13.
ABSTRACT
The Escherichia coli sequence type 131 (ST131) clone is notorious for extraintestinal infections, fluoroquinolone resistance, and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) production, attributable to a CTX-M-15-encoding mobile element. Here, we applied pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and whole-genome sequencing to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the ST131 clone. PFGE-based cluster analyses suggested that both fluoroquinolone resistance and ESBL production had been acquired by multiple ST131 sublineages through independent genetic events. In contrast, the more robust whole-genome-sequence-based phylogenomic analysis revealed that fluoroquinolone resistance was confined almost entirely to a single, rapidly expanding ST131 subclone, designated H30-R. Strikingly, 91% of the CTX-M-15-producing isolates also belonged to a single, well-defined clade nested within H30-R, which was named H30-Rx due to its more extensive resistance. Despite its tight clonal relationship with H30Rx, the CTX-M-15 mobile element was inserted variably in plasmid and chromosomal locations within the H30-Rx genome. Screening of a large collection of recent clinical E. coli isolates both confirmed the global clonal expansion of H30-Rx and revealed its disproportionate association with sepsis (relative risk, 7.5; P < 0.001). Together, these results suggest that the high prevalence of CTX-M-15 production among ST131 isolates is due primarily to the expansion of a single, highly virulent subclone, H30-Rx.
IMPORTANCE
We applied an advanced genomic approach to study the recent evolutionary history of one of the most important Escherichia coli strains in circulation today. This strain, called sequence type 131 (ST131), causes multidrug-resistant bladder, kidney, and bloodstream infections around the world. The rising prevalence of antibiotic resistance in E. coli is making these infections more difficult to treat and is leading to increased mortality. Past studies suggested that many different ST131 strains gained resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins independently. In contrast, our research indicates that most extended-spectrum-cephalosporin-resistant ST131 strains belong to a single highly pathogenic subclone, called H30-Rx. The clonal nature of H30-Rx may provide opportunities for vaccine or transmission prevention-based control strategies, which could gain importance as H30-Rx and other extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli subclones become resistant to our best antibiotics.
doi:10.1128/mBio.00377-13
PMCID: PMC3870262  PMID: 24345742
3.  Complete Genome Sequence of the Epidemic and Highly Virulent CTX-M-15-Producing H30-Rx Subclone of Escherichia coli ST131 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(6):e00988-13.
We report the complete genome sequence, including five complete plasmid sequences, of Escherichia coli ST131 isolate JJ1886. The isolate was obtained in 2007 in the United States from a patient with fatal urosepsis and belongs to the virulent, CTX-M-15-producing H30-Rx sublineage.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00988-13
PMCID: PMC3853059  PMID: 24309736
4.  Rapid Differentiation between Livestock-Associated and Livestock-Independent Staphylococcus aureus CC398 Clades 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79645.
Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex 398 (CC398) isolates cluster into two distinct phylogenetic clades based on single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) revealing a basal human clade and a more derived livestock clade. The scn and tet(M) genes are strongly associated with the human and the livestock clade, respectively, due to loss and acquisition of mobile genetic elements. We present canonical single-nucleotide polymorphism (canSNP) assays that differentiate the two major host-associated S. aureus CC398 clades and a duplex PCR assay for detection of scn and tet(M). The canSNP assays correctly placed 88 S. aureus CC398 isolates from a reference collection into the human and livestock clades and the duplex PCR assay correctly identified scn and tet(M). The assays were successfully applied to a geographically diverse collection of 272 human S. aureus CC398 isolates. The simple assays described here generate signals comparable to a whole-genome phylogeny for major clade assignment and are easily integrated into S. aureus CC398 surveillance programs and epidemiological studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079645
PMCID: PMC3828327  PMID: 24244535
5.  Genome Sequence of Staphylococcus aureus Strain CA-347, a USA600 Methicillin-Resistant Isolate 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(4):e00517-13.
The Staphylococcus aureus clonal lineage CC45 is a predominant colonizer of healthy individuals in northern Europe and constitutes a highly basal cluster of the S. aureus population. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of S. aureus strain CA-347 (NRS648), a representative of the methicillin-resistant USA600 clone predominantly found in the United States.
doi:10.1128/genomeA.00517-13
PMCID: PMC3735070  PMID: 23887918
6.  Livestock-Associated Methicillin and Multidrug Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Is Present among Industrial, Not Antibiotic-Free Livestock Operation Workers in North Carolina 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67641.
Objectives
Administration of antibiotics to food animals may select for drug-resistant pathogens of clinical significance, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In the United States, studies have examined prevalence of MRSA carriage among individuals exposed to livestock, but prevalence of multidrug-resistant S. aureus (MDRSA) carriage and the association with livestock raised with versus without antibiotic selective pressure remains unclear. We aimed to examine prevalence, antibiotic susceptibility, and molecular characteristics of S. aureus among industrial livestock operation (ILO) and antibiotic-free livestock operation (AFLO) workers and household members in North Carolina.
Methods
Participants in this cross-sectional study were interviewed and provided a nasal swab for S. aureus analysis. Resulting S. aureus isolates were assessed for antibiotic susceptibility, multi-locus sequence type, and absence of the scn gene (a marker of livestock association).
Results
Among 99 ILO and 105 AFLO participants, S. aureus nasal carriage prevalence was 41% and 40%, respectively. Among ILO and AFLO S. aureus carriers, MRSA was detected in 7% (3/41) and 7% (3/42), respectively. Thirty seven percent of 41 ILO versus 19% of 42 AFLO S. aureus-positive participants carried MDRSA. S. aureus clonal complex (CC) 398 was observed only among workers and predominated among ILO (13/34) compared with AFLO (1/35) S. aureus-positive workers. Only ILO workers carried scn-negative MRSA CC398 (2/34) and scn-negative MDRSA CC398 (6/34), and all of these isolates were tetracycline resistant.
Conclusions
Despite similar S. aureus and MRSA prevalence among ILO and AFLO-exposed individuals, livestock-associated MRSA and MDRSA (tetracycline-resistant, CC398, scn-negative) were only present among ILO-exposed individuals. These findings support growing concern about antibiotics use and confinement in livestock production, raising questions about the potential for occupational exposure to an opportunistic and drug-resistant pathogen, which in other settings including hospitals and the community is of broad public health importance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067641
PMCID: PMC3699663  PMID: 23844044
7.  Genome Analysis of Staphylococcus aureus ST291, a Double Locus Variant of ST398, Reveals a Distinct Genetic Lineage 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63008.
Staphylococcus aureus ST291 has been reported as a homologue recombinant double locus variant of the livestock associated S. aureus ST398. However, whole genome sequencing show that ST291 is a unique genetic lineage with highly variable content within its accessory genome compared to both human and livestock associated genome sequenced CC398s.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063008
PMCID: PMC3660392  PMID: 23704886
8.  Whole genome sequencing identifies zoonotic transmission of MRSA isolates with the novel mecA homologue mecC 
EMBO Molecular Medicine  2013;5(4):509-515.
Several methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lineages that carry a novel mecA homologue (mecC) have recently been described in livestock and humans. In Denmark, two independent human cases of mecC-MRSA infection have been linked to a livestock reservoir. We investigated the molecular epidemiology of the associated MRSA isolates using whole genome sequencing (WGS). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were defined and compared to a reference genome to place the isolates into a phylogenetic context. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two distinct farm-specific clusters comprising isolates from the human case and their own livestock, whereas human and animal isolates from the same farm only differed by a small number of SNPs, which supports the likelihood of zoonotic transmission. Further analyses identified a number of genes and mutations that may be associated with host interaction and virulence. This study demonstrates that mecC-MRSA ST130 isolates are capable of transmission between animals and humans, and underscores the potential of WGS in epidemiological investigations and source tracking of bacterial infections.
doi:10.1002/emmm.201202413
PMCID: PMC3628104  PMID: 23526809
cattle; mecC; MRSA; sheep; zoonosis
10.  Genome Sequence of Staphylococcus aureus Strain 11819-97, an ST80-IV European Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Isolate 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(6):1625-1626.
The European methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clone ST80-IV has historically dominated community-associated infections in major parts of Europe and is a lineage strongly linked to skin and soft tissue infections. Here, we report the genome sequence of an ST80-IV representative, 11819-97, isolated from a skin infection in Denmark in 1997.
doi:10.1128/JB.06653-11
PMCID: PMC3294860  PMID: 22374956
11.  Influence of Host Genetics and Environment on Nasal Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus in Danish Middle-Aged and Elderly Twins 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2012;206(8):1178-1184.
Background. Nasal carriage is a major risk factor for Staphylococcus aureus infection. Approximately, one-quarter of adults carry S. aureus. However, the role of host genetics on S. aureus nasal carriage is unknown.
Methods. Nasal swabs were obtained from a national cohort of middle-aged and elderly Danish twins. Subjects colonized with S. aureus were identified by growth on selective plates and spa typing. A second sample was obtained from twins initially concordant for carriage. Twins found to again be colonized with S. aureus were defined as persistent carriers.
Results. The prevalence of S. aureus carriage among 617 twin pairs (monozygotic/dizygotic pairs: 112/505) was 26.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 24.0%–28.9%). The concordance rate for carriage did not differ significantly between pairs of monozygotic (37.5%; 95% CI, 22.3%–53.8%) twins and same sex (24.2%; 95% CI, 15.4%–34.5%), and opposite sex (21.4%; 95% CI, 12.0%–33.4%) dizygotic twins. Despite shared childhoods, only 1 of 617 pairs was concordant with respect to lineage. Although heritability increased for S. aureus and lineage persistency, no significant heritability was detected.
Conclusion. In this study, host genetic factors exhibited only a modest influence on the S. aureus carrier state of middle-aged and elderly individuals.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jis491
PMCID: PMC3448969  PMID: 22872733
12.  Genetic Variability in Beta-Defensins Is Not Associated with Susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32315.
Introduction
Human beta-defensins are key components of human innate immunity to a variety of pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus. The aim of the present study was to investigate a potential association between gene variations in DEFB1 and DEFB103/DEFB4 and the development of S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) employing a case-control design.
Methods
Cases were unique patients with documented SAB, identified with the National S. aureus Bacteremia Register, a comprehensive dataset of all episodes of community associated-SABs (CA-SAB) occurring in children (≤20 yrs) in Denmark from 1990 to 2006. Controls were age-matched healthy individuals with no history of SAB. DNA obtained from cases and controls using the Danish Newborn Screening Biobank were genotyped for functional polymorphisms of DEFB1 by Sanger sequencing and copy number variation of the DEFB103 and DEFB4 genes using Pyrosequencing-based Paralogue Ratio Test (P-PRT).
Results
193 ethnic Danish SAB cases with 382 age-matched controls were used for this study. S. aureus isolates represented a variety of bacterial (i.e., different spa types) types similar to SAB isolates in general. DEFB1 minor allele frequencies of rs11362 (cases vs. controls 0.47/0.44), rs1800972 (0.21/0.24), and rs1799946 (0.32/0.33) were not significantly different in cases compared with controls. Also, DEFB4/DEFB103 gene copy numbers (means 4.83/4.92) were not significantly different in cases compared with controls.
Conclusions
Using a large, unique cohort of pediatric CA-SAB, we found no significant association between DEFB1 genetic variation or DEFB4/DEFB103 gene copy number and susceptibility for SAB.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032315
PMCID: PMC3285211  PMID: 22384213
13.  Staphylococcus aureus CC398: Host Adaptation and Emergence of Methicillin Resistance in Livestock 
mBio  2012;3(1):e00305-11.
ABSTRACT
Since its discovery in the early 2000s, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clonal complex 398 (CC398) has become a rapidly emerging cause of human infections, most often associated with livestock exposure. We applied whole-genome sequence typing to characterize a diverse collection of CC398 isolates (n = 89), including MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) from animals and humans spanning 19 countries and four continents. We identified 4,238 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) among the 89 core genomes. Minimal homoplasy (consistency index = 0.9591) was detected among parsimony-informative SNPs, allowing for the generation of a highly accurate phylogenetic reconstruction of the CC398 clonal lineage. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that MSSA from humans formed the most ancestral clades. The most derived lineages were composed predominantly of livestock-associated MRSA possessing three different staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec element (SCCmec) types (IV, V, and VII-like) including nine subtypes. The human-associated isolates from the basal clades carried phages encoding human innate immune modulators that were largely missing among the livestock-associated isolates. Our results strongly suggest that livestock-associated MRSA CC398 originated in humans as MSSA. The lineage appears to have undergone a rapid radiation in conjunction with the jump from humans to livestock, where it subsequently acquired tetracycline and methicillin resistance. Further analyses are required to estimate the number of independent genetic events leading to the methicillin-resistant sublineages, but the diversity of SCCmec subtypes is suggestive of strong and diverse antimicrobial selection associated with food animal production.
IMPORTANCE
Modern food animal production is characterized by densely concentrated animals and routine antibiotic use, which may facilitate the emergence of novel antibiotic-resistant zoonotic pathogens. Our findings strongly support the idea that livestock-associated MRSA CC398 originated as MSSA in humans. The jump of CC398 from humans to livestock was accompanied by the loss of phage-carried human virulence genes, which likely attenuated its zoonotic potential, but it was also accompanied by the acquisition of tetracycline and methicillin resistance. Our findings exemplify a bidirectional zoonotic exchange and underscore the potential public health risks of widespread antibiotic use in food animal production.
doi:10.1128/mBio.00305-11
PMCID: PMC3280451  PMID: 22354957
14.  Rapid PCR Detection of Staphylococcus aureus Clonal Complex 398 by Targeting the Restriction-Modification System Carrying sau1-hsdS1▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(2):732-734.
A PCR targeting sau1-hsdS1 was developed for rapid detection of Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex 398 (CC398). High sensitivity (100%) and specificity (100%) were shown by evaluating the test on a large strain collection (n = 1,307). We recommend this test for accurate, rapid, and inexpensive diagnosis of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) CC398 in hospitals and on farms.
doi:10.1128/JCM.01970-10
PMCID: PMC3043477  PMID: 21123532
15.  Real-Time Relative qPCR without Reference to Control Samples and Estimation of Run-Specific PCR Parameters from Run-Internal Mini-Standard Curves 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11723.
Background
Real-Time quantitative PCR is an important tool in research and clinical settings. Here, we describe two new approaches that broaden the scope of real-time quantitative PCR; namely, run-internal mini standard curves (RIMS) and direct real-time relative quantitative PCR (drqPCR). RIMS are an efficient alternative to traditional standard curves and provide both run-specific and target-specific estimates of PCR parameters. The drqPCR enables direct estimation of target ratios without reference to conventional control samples.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we compared RIMS-based drqPCR with classical quantifications based on external standard curves and the “comparative Ct method”. Specifically, we used a raw real-time PCR dataset as the basis for more than two-and-a-half million simulated quantifications with various user-defined conditions. Compared with classical approaches, we found that RIMS-based drqPCR provided superior precision and comparable accuracy.
Conclusions/Significance
The obviation of referencing to control samples is attractive whenever unpaired samples are quantified. This may be in clinical and research settings; for instance, studies on chimerism, TREC quantifications, copy number variations etc. Also, lab-to-lab comparability can be greatly simplified.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011723
PMCID: PMC2908630  PMID: 20661435
16.  Two Distinct Clones of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with the Same USA300 Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis Profile: a Potential Pitfall for Identification of USA300 Community-Associated MRSA▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(11):3765-3768.
Analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) characterized as USA300 by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis identified two distinct clones. One was similar to community-associated USA300 MRSA (ST8-IVa, t008, and Panton-Valentine leukocidin positive). The second (ST8-IVa, t024, and PVL negative) had different molecular characteristics and epidemiology, suggesting independent evolution. We recommend spa typing and/or PCR to discriminate between the two clones.
doi:10.1128/JCM.00934-09
PMCID: PMC2772603  PMID: 19759225

Results 1-16 (16)