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J Bacteriol. Oct 2010; 192(20): 5556–5557.
Published online Aug 20, 2010. doi:  10.1128/JB.00878-10
PMCID: PMC2950503

Complete Genome Sequence of Staphylococcus aureus Strain JKD6159, a Unique Australian Clone of ST93-IV Community Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus[down-pointing small open triangle]


Community methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (cMRSA) is an emerging issue that has resulted in multiple worldwide epidemics. We report the first complete genome sequence of an ST93-MRSA-IV clinical isolate that caused severe invasive infection and a familial outbreak of skin infection. This isolate is a representative of the most common Australian clone of cMRSA that is more distantly related to the previously sequenced genomes of S. aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of both hospital- and community-acquired infections, with rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance, in particular methicillin resistance, adding complexity to the treatment of this organism (3). While previously a hospital problem, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is now being increasingly documented in healthy patients in the community, and these isolates are termed “community MRSA” (cMRSA). A number of cMRSA genomes have been sequenced; however, these are phylogenetically closely related to each other. In contrast, ST93-MRSA-IV, a unique Australian clone, is a singleton by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) eBURST analysis (4). It is now the dominant cMRSA clone in Australia and is associated with both skin infection and severe invasive infection, including necrotizing pneumonia, deep-seated abscesses, and septicemia (5, 10). JKD6159 is a representative ST93-MRSA-IV clinical isolate which caused septicemia and multifocal pulmonary and musculoskeletal abscesses in a previously well intravenous drug user and also resulted in a familial outbreak of skin infection.

The genome sequence of S. aureus strain JKD6159 was determined by high-throughput whole-genome shotgun sequencing, using both Illumina GAII (Illumina, CA) and Roche GS FLX Titanium (Roche Diagnostics, Basel, Switzerland) sequencing technologies, producing approximately 164× and 32× coverage of the genome, respectively. The GS FLX Titanium reads were assembled using Newbler, resulting in 56 contigs totaling 2.8 Mbp (9). The paired GAII reads were aligned to the contigs using SHRiMP 1.3.2 to identify and correct 74 homopolymeric sequencing errors (11). Optical mapping was used to produce a high-resolution XbaI chromosome restriction map, and the contigs were ordered and oriented against this map using MapSolver 2.1.1 (Opgen). Gap closures were performed by PCR followed by Sanger sequencing of amplification products (3730S genetic analyzer sequencer; Applied Biosystems, CA). The finished sequence was validated by reference to the XbaI optical map, Roche GS FLX Titanium mate pair analysis, and Illumina paired-end-read analysis.

Protein coding regions were predicted using GeneMarkS 4.6b, tRNA genes using tRNAscan-SE 1.23, and rRNA genes using RNAmmer 1.2 (2, 7, 8). Gene products were assigned using HMMER 3.0 against the Pfam database (release 23) and BLAST 2.2.23 against RefSeq Proteins (April 2010) and the Conserved Domain Database (v2.22) (1, 6). These automated analyses were followed by manual curation, including comparison with other completed S. aureus genomes.

The genome of S. aureus strain JKD6159 consists of a circular 2,811,435-bp chromosome with 33% G+C content—similar to those of other staphylococci—and one circular plasmid of 20,730 bp. A total of 2,605 coding regions, 57 tRNA genes, and 5 rRNA loci were detected. Over 67% of genes were assigned to specific Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COG) Database functional groups, and 40% were assigned an enzyme classification number (12).

Initial analysis of the whole-genome sequence of JKD6159 confirms that ST93-MRSA-IV is distantly related to other previously sequenced S. aureus genomes. ST93-MRSA-IV has a distinct accessory genome. There were a number of regions of difference in JKD6159 that contain coding sequences (CDS) not present in any other published S. aureus genomes. Additionally, the ssl gene cluster in JKD6159 appears distinct from other sequenced S. aureus isolates. Comparison with other S. aureus genomes also shows that although JKD6159 carries lukSF-PV (the genes encoding Panton-Valentine leukocidin), there is a relative paucity of virulence factors such as tst-1, genes encoding staphylococcal enterotoxins A to U, and the ACME locus. Further analysis of the genome is now under way to identify factors that might explain the emergence of this MRSA strain in the community.


This work was supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the CASS Foundation, and the Austin Hospital Medical Research Foundation.


[down-pointing small open triangle]Published ahead of print on 20 August 2010.


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