Phage-mediated horizontal transfer of a Staphylococcus ureus virulence-associated genomic island

Moon, B.Y., Park, J. Y., Hwang, S.Y, Robinson, D. Ashley, Thomas, J.C., Fitzgerald, J. Ross, Park, Y. H. and Seo, K. S. (2015) Phage-mediated horizontal transfer of a Staphylococcus ureus virulence-associated genomic island. Scientific Reports, 5 (9784). ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen of humans and animals. The capacity of S. aureus to adapt to different host species and tissue types is strongly influenced by the acquisition of mobile genetic elements encoding determinants involved in niche adaptation. The genomic islands nSaa and nSab are found in almost all S. aureus strains and are characterized by extensive variation in virulence gene content. However the basis for the diversity and the mechanism underlying mobilization of the genomic islands between strains are unexplained. Here, we demonstrated that the genomic island, nSab, encoding an array of virulence factors including staphylococcal superantigens, proteases, and leukotoxins, in addition to bacteriocins, was transferrable in vitro to human and animal strains of multiple S. aureus clones via a resident prophage. The transfer of the nSab appears to have been accomplished by multiple conversions of transducing phage particles carrying overlapping segments of the nSab. Our findings solve a long-standing mystery regarding the diversification and spread of the genomic island nSab, highlighting the central role of bacteriophages in the pathogenic evolution of S. aureus.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was partially supported by grants from National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture (2008-35204-04582) to K.S.S.; Center for Biomedical Research Excellence in Pathogen-Host interactions, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH (1P20GM103646-01A1) to K.S.S.; National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH (GM080602) to D.A.R.; and Internal grant, College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University to K.S.S. J.R.F. was supported by a project grant (BB/I013873/1) and institute strategic grant funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (United Kingdom).
Uncontrolled Keywords: bacteriophages, pathogens
Divisions: ?? biology ??
Depositing User: Tracey Gill
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2017 13:55
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2017 10:37
Identification Number: 10.1038/srep09784
URI: http://ubir.bolton.ac.uk/id/eprint/1066

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