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Infect Immun. 2004 Feb;72(2):1210-5.

The bacterial insertion sequence element IS256 occurs preferentially in nosocomial Staphylococcus epidermidis isolates: association with biofilm formation and resistance to aminoglycosides.

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  • 1Institut für Molekulare Infektionsbiologie, D-97070 Würzburg, Germany.


Staphylococcus epidermidis is a normal constituent of the healthy human microflora, but it is also the most common cause of nosocomial infections associated with the use of indwelling medical devices. Isolates from device-associated infections are known for their pronounced phenotypic and genetic variability, and in this study we searched for factors that might contribute to this flexibility. We show that mutator phenotypes, which exhibit elevated spontaneous mutation rates, are rare among both pathogenic and commensal S. epidermidis strains. However, the study revealed that, in contrast to those of commensal strains, the genomes of clinical S. epidermidis strains carry multiple copies of the insertion sequence IS256, while other typical staphylococcal insertion sequences, such as IS257 and IS1272, are distributed equally among saprophytic and clinical isolates. Moreover, detection of IS256 was found to be associated with biofilm formation and the presence of the icaADBC operon as well as with gentamicin and oxacillin resistance in the clinical strains. The data suggest that IS256 is a characteristic element in the genome of multiresistant nosocomial S. epidermidis isolates that might be involved in the flexibility and adaptation of the genome in clinical isolates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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