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1.  Identification, Typing, and Phylogenetic Relationships of the Main Clinical Nocardia Species in Spain According to Their gyrB and rpoB Genes 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3602-3608.
This study compares the identification, typing, and phylogenetic relationships of the most prevalent clinical Nocardia species in Spain, as determined via sequence analysis of their housekeeping genes gyrB and rpoB, with the results returned by the gold standard 16S rRNA method. gyrB and rpoB analyses identified Nocardia abscessus, N. cyriacigeorgica, N. farcinica, and the N. nova complex, species that together account for more than half of the human nocardiosis cases recorded in Spain. The individual discriminatory power of gyrB and rpoB with respect to intraspecies typing, calculated using the Hunter-Gaston discriminatory index (HGDI), was generally high (HGDI, 0.85 to 1), except for rpoB with respect to N. farcinica (HGDI, 0.71). Phylogenetically, different degrees of intra- and interspecies microheterogeneity were observed for gyrB and rpoB in a group of 119 clinical strains. A single 16S haplotype was obtained for each species, except for the N. nova complex (8 types), while gyrB and rpoB were more polymorphic: N. abscessus had 14 and 18 haplotypes, N. cyriacigeorgica had 17 and 12, N. farcinica had 11 and 5, and the N. nova complex had 26 and 29 haplotypes, respectively. A diversity gradient was therefore seen, with N. farcinica at the bottom followed by N. abscessus and N. cyriacigeorgica in the middle and N. nova complex at the top. The complexity of the N. nova complex is highlighted by its six variations in the GyrB 126AAAPEH motif. gyrB sequencing (with or without rpoB sequencing) offers a simple means for identifying the most prevalent Nocardia species in Spanish medical laboratories and for determining the intraspecific diversity among their strains.
PMCID: PMC3889740  PMID: 23966490
2.  Molecular epidemiology, antimicrobial susceptibilities and resistance mechanisms of Streptococcus pyogenes isolates resistant to erythromycin and tetracycline in Spain (1994–2006) 
BMC Microbiology  2012;12:215.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) causes human diseases ranging in severity from uncomplicated pharyngitis to life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis and shows high rates of macrolide resistance in several countries. Our goal is to identify antimicrobial resistance in Spanish GAS isolates collected between 1994 and 2006 and to determine the molecular epidemiology (emm/T typing and PFGE) and resistance mechanisms of those resistant to erythromycin and tetracycline.
Two hundred ninety-five out of 898 isolates (32.8%) were erythromycin resistant, with the predominance of emm4T4, emm75T25, and emm28T28, accounting the 67.1% of the 21 emm/T types. Spread of emm4T4, emm75T25 and emm28T28 resistant clones caused high rates of macrolide resistance. The distribution of the phenotypes was M (76.9%), cMLSB (20.3%), iMLSB (2.7%) with the involvement of the erythromycin resistance genes mef(A) (89.5%), msr(D) (81.7%), erm(B) (37.3%) and erm(A) (35.9%).
Sixty-one isolates were tetracycline resistant, with the main representation of the emm77T28 among 20 emm/T types. To note, the combination of tet(M) and tet(O) tetracycline resistance genes were similar to tet(M) alone reaching values close to 40%. Resistance to both antibiotics was detected in 19 isolates of 7 emm/T types, being emm11T11 and the cMLSB phenotype the most frequent ones. erm(B) and tet(M) were present in almost all the strains, while erm(A), mef(A), msr(D) and tet(O) appeared in less than half of them.
Spanish GAS were highly resistant to macrolides meanwhile showed minor resistance rate to tetracycline. A remarkable correlation between antimicrobial resistance and emm/T type was noticed. Clonal spread of emm4T4, emm75T25 and emm28T28 was the main responsable for macrolide resistance where as that emm77T28 clones were it to tetraclycline resistance. A wide variety of macrolide resistance genes were responsible for three macrolide resistance phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3490898  PMID: 22998619
GAS; emm gene; PFGE; Macrolide resistance; Tetracycline resistance
3.  Clonal Diversity of Nosocomial Epidemic Acinetobacter baumannii Strains Isolated in Spain▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(3):875-882.
Acinetobacter baumannii is one of the major pathogens involved in nosocomial outbreaks. The clonal diversity of 729 epidemic strains isolated from 19 Spanish hospitals (mainly from intensive care units) was analyzed over an 11-year period. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) identified 58 PFGE types that were subjected to susceptibility testing, rpoB gene sequencing, and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). All PFGE types were multidrug resistant; colistin was the only agent to which all pathogens were susceptible. The 58 PFGE types were grouped into 16 clones based on their genetic similarity (cutoff of 80%). These clones were distributed into one major cluster (cluster D), three medium clusters (clusters A, B, and C), and three minor clusters (clusters E, F, and G). The rpoB gene sequencing and MLST results reflected a clonal distribution, in agreement with the PFGE results. The MLST sequence types (STs) (and their percent distributions) were as follows: ST-2 (47.5%), ST-3 (5.1%), ST-15 (1.7%), ST-32 (1.7%), ST-79 (13.6%), ST-80 (20.3%), and ST-81 (10.2%). ST-79, ST-80, and ST-81 and the alleles cpn60-26 and recA29 are described for the first time. International clones I, II, and III were represented by ST-81, ST-2, and ST-3, respectively. ST-79 and ST-80 could be novel emerging clones. This work confirms PFGE and MLST to be complementary tools in clonality studies. Here PFGE was able to demonstrate the monoclonal pattern of most outbreaks, the inter- and intrahospital transmission of bacteria, and their endemic persistence in some wards. MLST allowed the temporal evolution and spatial distribution of Spanish clones to be monitored and permitted international comparisons to be made.
PMCID: PMC3067678  PMID: 21177889
4.  Epidemiological and Phylogenetic Analysis of Spanish Human Brucella melitensis Strains by Multiple-Locus Variable-Number Tandem-Repeat Typing, Hypervariable Octameric Oligonucleotide Fingerprinting, and rpoB Typing▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(8):2734-2740.
The severe morbidity of human brucellosis is one of the main reasons for using molecular typing in the epidemiological surveillance of this worldwide zoonosis. Multiple-locus variable-number repeat analysis (MLVA-16), hypervariable octameric oligonucleotide fingerprinting (HOOF-print), and the differences in the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (codons 1249 and 1309) of the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase β subunit (rpoB) were used to type a human Brucella melitensis population (108 strains) collected from throughout Spain over 13 years. Eighty-six MLVA types (discriminatory index, 0.99) were detected, with a wide-ranging genetic similarity coefficient (37.2 to 93.7%). The population clustered into the following groups: American, with genotypes 47 (1 strain), 48 (13 strains), 53 (12 strains), 55 (2 strains), 80 (1 strain), and a new genotype (2 strains), Western Mediterranean, with genotype 51 (9 strains), and Eastern Mediterranean, with genotypes 42 (60 strains), 43 (4 strains), and 63 (4 strains). Two profession-related and two foodborne acquisitions were confirmed. Distributed throughout Spain, Eastern Mediterranean genotype 42 was the most common (55%). The low MLVA-16 allelic polymorphism (genetic similarity range, 75 to 94%) of the genotype 42 strains suggests that they recently evolved from a common ancestor. rpoB typing grouped the strains as rpoB type 1 (1249-ATG/1309-CTG; 28.7%), rpoB type 2 (1249-ATG/1309-CTA; 62.9%), and rpoB type 3 (1249-ATA/1309-CTG; 8.3%). According to the MLVA-16 results, the population clustered by rpoB type. Given the correlation between B. melitensis MLVA groups and rpoB types (American and rpoB type 1, Eastern Mediterranean and rpoB type 2, and Western Mediterranean and rpoB type 3), the rpoB type could be used as an initial marker for the epidemiological surveillance of brucellosis.
PMCID: PMC2916618  PMID: 20554816
5.  Polymorphic Mutation Frequencies of Clinical and Environmental Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Populations▿  
Mutation frequencies were studied in 174 Stenotrophomonas maltophilia isolates from clinical and nonclinical environments by detecting spontaneous rifampin-resistant mutants in otherwise-susceptible populations. The distribution of mutation frequencies followed a pattern similar to that found for other bacterial species, with a modal value of 1 × 10−8. Nevertheless, the proportion of isolates showing mutation frequencies below the modal value (hypomutators) was significantly higher for S. maltophilia than those so far reported in other organisms. Low mutation frequencies were particularly frequent among environmental S. maltophilia strains (58.3%), whereas strong mutators were found only among isolates with a clinical origin. These results indicate that clinical environments might select bacterial populations with high mutation frequencies, likely by second-order selection processes. In several of the strong-mutator isolates, functional-complementation assays with a wild-type allele of the mutS gene demonstrated that the mutator phenotype was due to the impairment of MutS activity. In silico analysis of the amino acid changes present in the MutS proteins of these hypermutator strains in comparison with the normomutator isolates suggests that the cause of the defect in MutS might be a H683P amino acid change.
PMCID: PMC2838010  PMID: 20097818
7.  Urinary Tract Infection Caused by Capnophilic Escherichia coli 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2008;14(7):1163-1164.
PMCID: PMC2600357  PMID: 18598651
Escherichia coli; capnophilic; carbon dioxide-dependent strain; urinary tract infection; sterile pyuria; letter
8.  Salmonella Derby Clonal Spread from Pork 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(5):694-698.
The genetic diversity of the Derby serotype of Salmonella enterica in Spain was examined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Out of 24 identified PFGE profiles, a major clone was detected in 19% of strains from humans, 52% from food, and 62% from swine. This clone (clone 1) was isolated from pork products, suggesting swine as its source.
PMCID: PMC3320352  PMID: 15890121
swine; Salmonella enterica Derby; clonal spread; PFGE typing; human food
9.  High Genetic Diversity among Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Strains Despite Their Originating at a Single Hospital 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(2):693-699.
The levels of genetic relatedness of 139 Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strains recovered from 105 hospitalized non-cystic fibrosis patients (51% from medical wards, 35% from intensive care units, and 14% from surgical wards) and 7 environmental sources in the same hospital setting during a 4-year period were typed by the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) technique. A total of 99 well-defined distinct XbaI PFGE patterns were identified (Simpson's discrimination index, 0.996). The dendrogram showed a Dice similarity coefficient ranging from 28 to 80%. Two major clusters (I and II), three minor clusters (III, IV, and V), and two independent branches were observed when using a 36% Dice coefficient, indicating a high diversity of genetic relatedness. It is of note that 84% of strains were grouped within two major clonal lineages. No special cluster gathering was found among strains belonging to the same sample type specimen, patients' infection or colonization status, and ward of precedence. Despite this fact, three different clones (A, B, and C) recovered from respiratory samples from six, three, and two patients, respectively, and two clones, D and E, in two bacteremic patients each, were identified. Isolation of an S. maltophilia strain belonging to the clone A profile in a bronchoscope demonstrated a common source from this clone. This study revealed a high genetic diversity of S. maltophilia isolates despite their origin from a single hospital, which may be related to the wide environmental distribution of this pathogen. However, few clones could be transmitted among different patients, yielding outbreak situations.
PMCID: PMC344440  PMID: 14766838
10.  Topoisomerase II and IV Quinolone Resistance-Determining Regions in Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Clinical Isolates with Different Levels of Quinolone Susceptibility 
The quinolone resistance-determining regions (QRDRs) of topoisomerase II and IV genes from Stenotrophomonas maltophilia ATCC 13637 were sequenced and compared with the corresponding regions of 32 unrelated S. maltophilia clinical strains for which ciprofloxacin MICs ranged from 0.1 to 64 μg/ml. GyrA (Leu-55 to Gln-155, Escherichia coli numbering), GyrB (Met-391 to Phe-513), ParC (Ile-34 to Arg-124), and ParE (Leu-396 to Leu-567) fragments from strain ATCC 13637 showed high degrees of identity to the corresponding regions from the phytopathogen Xylella fastidiosa, with the degrees of identity ranging from 85.0 to 93.5%. Lower degrees of identity to the corresponding regions from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (70.9 to 88.6%) and E. coli (73.0 to 88.6%) were observed. Amino acid changes were present in GyrA fragments from 9 of the 32 strains at positions 70, 85, 90, 103, 112, 113, 119, and 124; but there was no consistent relation to higher ciprofloxacin MICs. The absence of changes at positions 83 and 87, commonly involved in quinolone resistance in gram-negative bacteria, was unexpected. The GyrB sequences were identical in all strains, and only one strain (ciprofloxacin MIC, 16 μg/ml) showed a ParC amino acid change (Ser-80→Arg). In contrast, a high frequency (16 of 32 strains) of amino acid replacements was present in ParE. The frequencies of alterations at positions 437, 465, 477, and 485 were higher (P < 0.05) in strains from cystic fibrosis patients, but these changes were not linked with high ciprofloxacin MICs. An efflux phenotype, screened by the detection of decreases of at least twofold doubling dilutions of the ciprofloxacin MIC in the presence of carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (0.5 μg/ml) or reserpine (10 μg/ml), was suspected in seven strains. These results suggest that topoisomerases II and IV may not be the primary targets involved in quinolone resistance in S. maltophilia.
PMCID: PMC127482  PMID: 11850246
11.  Antimicrobial Susceptibilities of Unique Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Clinical Strains 
Susceptibility to 41 antimicrobials was studied with 99 Stenotrophomonas maltophilia strains, and different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles were identified among 130 prospectively collected isolates. Moxalactam, doxycycline, minocycline, and clinafloxacin displayed the highest activity (≥98% susceptibility). Ticarcillin resistance (75%) was reverted by clavulanate in 25% of strains. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistance was 26.2% (≥4 [trimethoprim]/76 [sulfamethoxazole] μg/ml) and dropped to 11.1% when an 8/152-μg/ml breakpoint was applied based on its bimodal MIC distribution. Resistance was lower when unique strains were considered, because clonal organisms contribute to resistance.
PMCID: PMC90512  PMID: 11302834

Results 1-11 (11)