Characterisation of Staphylococcus felis isolated from cats using whole genome sequencing
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This study used phenotypic tests and whole genome sequencing to characterise a collection of 37 clinical Staphylococcus felis isolates from cats. Samples were isolated from a range of diseases including feline lower urinary tract disease (n = 15), otitis externa (n = 13), and ocular disease (n = 2). Isolates were identified using MALDI-TOF MS and by BLASTn analysis of S. felis-specific 16S rRNA, rpoB and nuc genes in whole genome sequence-based contigs. Phenotypic antimicrobial resistance was determined using disk diffusion and broth microdilution. Coagulase activity was assessed using feline and rabbit plasma. Genomes were screened for putative virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes using the sequences of known genes from other staphylococci as homologous references. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using single nucleotide polymorphisms. One isolate was coagulase-positive when tested with feline plasma but all isolates were rabbit plasma coagulase-negative. No genetic determinant of coagulase activity was identified in this isolate. A range of putative virulence genes were found amongst isolates including genes associated with adhesion, toxin production and immune evasion. Ninety two percent of isolates were fully susceptible to all antimicrobials tested, which was reflected by a general absence of resistance genes. Clustering within the phylogenetic tree suggested a multiclonal population structure; this clustering did not correlate with disease syndrome or geographic origin of the isolate. Future studies of veterinary staphylococci will benefit from the publicly available S. felis draft genomes that were generated in this study.
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