Sequencing Independent Molecular Typing of Staphylococcus aureus Isolates: Approach for Infection Control and Clonal Characterization

Staphylococcus aureus is a major bacterial human pathogen that causes a wide variety of clinical manifestations. The main aim of the presented study was to determine and optimize a novel sequencing independent approach that enables molecular typing of S. aureus isolates and elucidates the transmission of emergent clones between patients. In total, 987 S. aureus isolates including both methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) isolates were used to evaluate the novel typing approach combining high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis of multilocus sequence typing (MLST) genes (mini-MLST) and spa gene (spa-HRM). The novel approach’s discriminatory ability was evaluated by whole-genome sequencing (WGS). The clonal relatedness of tested isolates was set by the BURP and BURST approach using spa and MLST data, respectively. Mini-MLST classified the S. aureus isolates into 38 clusters, followed by spa-HRM classifying the isolates into 101 clusters. The WGS proved HRM-based methods to effectively differentiate between related S. aureus isolates. Visualizing evolutionary relationships among different spa-types provided by the BURP algorithm showed comparable results to MLST/mini-MLST clonal clusters. We proved that the combination of mini-MLST and spa-HRM is rapid, reproducible, and cost-efficient. In addition to high discriminatory ability, the correlation between spa evolutionary relationships and mini-MLST clustering allows the variability in population structure to be monitored.
Microbiology spectrum. 2022, vol. 10, issue 1, p. 1-10.
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