Identification of genetic variation exclusive to specific lineages associated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia

D. Patel, Matthew Ellington, Russell Hope, R. Reynolds, Catherine Arnold, Meeta Desai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemia cases have declined since 2003, and have mostly been due to two epidemic (E) strains, E15 (multi-locus sequence type clonal complex CC22) and E16 (CC30). By contrast, the incidence of meticillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) bacteraemia has remained largely unchanged and our understanding of these isolates has remained poor. Aim: To investigate the distribution and nucleotide sequence of heterogeneous regions between successful lineages using the 2009 British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) Bacteraemia Resistance Surveillance Programme collection of S. aureus. Methods: S. aureus isolates (N = 202) comprised of 103 MRSA and 99 MSSA isolates were analysed using fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (FAFLP) to detect nucleotide variations due to lineage-specific sequence motifs as well as differences in the distribution of mobile genetic elements between lineages. Findings: E15 and E16 MRSA strains comprised 79% and 6% of the collection in 2009 respectively. Six lineages, including CC22 and CC30, were associated with MRSA bacteraemia in the UK and Ireland. MSSA isolates were more diverse with 19 different lineages detected. FAFLP revealed lineage-specific sequence variations in loci encoding factors such as proteases or factors involved in haem biosynthesis, both of which may affect the success of major S. aureus lineages. Proteins encoded on certain mobile genetic elements or involved in cobalamin biosynthesis were found to be exclusive to CC8, CC22, or CC30. Conclusion: Overall, the genetic diversity among regions of the core genome and mobile genetic elements may alter antimicrobial resistance and the production of virulence or fitness factors that may be linked to strain success.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4589
Pages (from-to)136-145
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the first author and the project was provided by a Public Health England PhD studentship.


  • Bacteraemia
  • Genetic diversity
  • Lineage
  • Staphylococcus aureus


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