Two different erm(C)-carrying plasmids in the same methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 isolate from a broiler farm

Wendlandt, Sarah GND; Kadlec, Kristina GND; Fessler, Andrea T. GND; van Duijkeren, E.; Schwarz, Stefan GND

During a study on plasmid-borne antimicrobial resistance among methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates from broiler farms, an MRSA isolate was identified which carried multiple plasmids. This MRSA isolate belonged to CC398 and exhibited spa type t3015 and dru type dt11a. Plasmid profiling revealed the presence of one large and two small plasmids. The resistance genes tet(L) (tetracycline resistance), dfrK (trimethoprim resistance) and aadD (kanamycin/neomycin resistance) were located on the large plasmid. Both small plasmids, designated pSWS371 and pSWS372, carried only an erm(C) gene for macrolide/lincosamide resistance. Sequence analysis revealed that the 2458-bp plasmid pSWS371 carried only a repL gene for plasmid replication in addition to the erm(C) gene. In contrast, the 3882-bp plasmid pSWS372 harbored – in addition to the erm(C) gene – three more genes: a repF gene for plasmid replication, a cop-6 gene for a small protein potentially involved in copy number control of the plasmid and a novel pre/mob gene for a protein involved in plasmid recombination and mobilization. The erm(C) genes of both small plasmids exhibited constitutive erm(C) gene expression and analysis of the respective translational attenuators identified deletions of 16 bp and 74 bp which explain the constitutive expression. The simultaneous presence of two small plasmids that carry the same resistance gene in the same MRSA isolate is a rare observation. The fact that both plasmids belong to different incompatibility groups as specified by the different rep genes, repL and repF, explains why they can stably coexist in the same bacterial cell.

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Wendlandt, Sarah / Kadlec, Kristina / Fessler, Andrea T. / et al: Two different erm(C)-carrying plasmids in the same methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 isolate from a broiler farm. 2014.

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