Characterization of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec elements from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius infections in Australian animals
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We examined the oxacillin resistance phenotype and genomic structure of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) elements from 77 veterinary methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) isolates. Isolates were characterized by oxacillin broth microdilution, whole-genome sequencing, and bioformatics analysis. Five previously described SCCmec elements, and a sixth novel element, were identified: SCCmec III (also known as II-III), ΨSCCmec57395, and SCCmecNA45 (a SCCmec VII variant), all previously described in MRSP, and SCCmec IVg and SCCmec VT, previously described in both methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and MRSP. The sixth element was novel and found among nine geographically clustered isolates. This novel pseudostaphylococcal cassette chromosome (ΨSCCmecKW21) contained a class A mec gene complex but lacked ccr genes. It also harbored heavy metal (cadmium) resistance determinants. The median oxacillin MIC values among ΨSCCmecKW21, SCCmec III, and SCCmec VT isolates were significantly higher than those determined for the SCCmecNA45 VII variant isolates and ΨSCCmec57395 and SCCmec IVg isolates. ΨSCCmecKW21 was found exclusively in sequence type 497 (ST497), an MRSP clone that is locally successful in Victoria, Australia. Future studies are necessary to determine if this clone has disseminated further afield and if ΨSCCmecKW21 has moved into other MRSP lineages or staphylococcal species. IMPORTANCE Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a significant veterinary pathogen and occasional cause of infections in humans. β-Lactams are an important group of antimicrobials used to treat staphylococcal infections in humans and animals. However, when staphylococci become methicillin resistant via the acquisition of a mobile genetic element called staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec), they become resistant to all β-lactams. This study detected a novel SCCmec element among a cluster of methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius isolates from animals in Australia. It also detected SCCmec elements in S. pseudintermedius that had high similarity to those identified in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, demonstrating how human and animal pathogens can share the same resistance determinants.
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