Serological versus molecular typing of surface-associated immune evading polysaccharideantigens-based phenotypes of Staphylococcus aureus
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The aim of this study was to compare the performance of serological versus molecular typing methods to detect capsular polysaccharide (CP) and surface-associated polysaccharide antigen 336 phenotypes of Staphylococcus aureus isolates. Molecular typing of CP types 1, 5 and 8 was carried out using PCR, whereas serological typing of CP1, 2, 5, 8 and antigen 336 was carried out by slide agglutination using specific antisera. By genotyping, 14/31 strains were CP8 positive, 12/31 strains were CP5 and the remaining 6/31 isolates were non-typable (NT). One isolate was positive for both CP5 and CP8 by PCR, but was confirmed as CP8 type serologically. Detection of CP2 and type 336 by PCR was not possible because specific primers were either not available or non-specific. Using serotyping, 14/31 strains were CP8 positive, 11/31 CP5 positive and 2/31 positive for antigen 336. The remaining four S. aureus isolates were serologically NT. However, three of four NT and two 336-positive S. aureus isolates were encapsulated as determined by light microscopy after capsular staining. This discovery was surprising and warrants further investigations on the identification and characterization of additional capsular phenotypes prevalent among S. aureus clinical isolates. It was concluded that serological typing was a better method than molecular typing for use in epidemiological investigations based upon the distribution of surface-associated polysaccharide antigens-based phenotypes.
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