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A novel multidrug-resistant PVL-negative CC1-MRSA-IV clone emerging in Ireland and Germany likely originated in South-Eastern Europe

Earls, Megan R.; Shore, Anna C.; Brennan, Gráinne I.; Simbeck, Alexandra; Schneider-Brachert, Wulf; Vremera, Teodora; Dorneanu, Olivia S.; Slickers, Peter; Ehricht, Ralf; Monecke, Stefan; Coleman, David C.
in: Infection Genetics and Evolution (2019) 117

This study investigated the recent emergence of multidrug-resistant Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-negative CC1-MRSA-IV in Ireland and Germany. Ten CC1-MSSA and 139 CC1-MRSA isolates recovered in Ireland between 2004 and 2017 were investigated. These were compared to 21 German CC1-MRSA, 10 Romanian CC1-MSSA, five Romanian CC1-MRSA and two UAE CC1-MRSA, which were selected from an extensive global database, based on similar DNA microarray profiles to the Irish isolates. All isolates subsequently underwent whole-genome sequencing, core-genome single nucleotide polymorphism (cgSNP) analysis and enhanced SCCmec subtyping. Two PVL-negative clades (A and B1) were identified among four main clades. Clade A included 20 German isolates, 119 Irish isolates, and all Romanian MRSA and MSSA isolates, the latter of which differed from clade A MRSA by 47–130 cgSNPs. Eighty-six Irish clade A isolates formed a tight subclade (A1) exhibiting 0–49 pairwise cgSNPs, 80 of which harboured a 46 kb conjugative plasmid carrying both ileS2, encoding high-level mupirocin resistance, and qacA, encoding chlorhexidine resistance. The resistance genes aadE, aphA3 and sat were detected in all clade A MRSA and the majority (8/10) of clade A MSSA isolates. None of the clade A isolates harboured any enterotoxin genes other than seh, which is universally present in CC1. Clade B1 included the remaining German isolate, 17 Irish isolates and the two UAE isolates, all of which corresponded to the Western Australia MRSA-1 (WA MRSA-1) clone based on genotypic characteristics. MRSA within clades A and B1 differed by 188 cgSNPs and clade-specific SCCmec characteristics were identified, indicating independent acquisition of the SCCmec element. This study demonstrated the existence of a European PVL-negative CC1-MRSA-IV clone that is distinctly different from the well-defined PVL-negative CC1-MRSA-IV clone, WA MRSA-1. Furthermore, cgSNP analysis revealed that this newly defined clone may have originated in South-Eastern Europe, before spreading to both Ireland and Germany.

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