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J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Jun;45(6):1904-11. Epub 2007 Apr 11.

Comparative genomics of Canadian epidemic lineages of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

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  • 1National Microbiology Laboratory, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 3R2, Canada.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a pathogen that has disseminated throughout Canadian hospitals and communities. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of over 9,300 MRSA isolates obtained from the Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program has identified 10 epidemic strain types in Canada (CMRSA1 to CMRSA10). In an attempt to determine specific genetic factors that have contributed to their high prevalence in community and/or hospital settings, the genomic content of representative isolates for each of the 10 Canadian epidemic types was compared using comparative genomic hybridizations. Comparison of the community-associated Canadian epidemic isolates (CMRSA7 and CMRSA10) with the hospital-associated Canadian epidemic isolates revealed one open reading frame (ORF) (SACOL0046) encoding a putative protein belonging to a metallo-beta-lactamase family, which was present only in the community-associated Canadian epidemic isolates. A more restricted comparison involving only the most common hospital-associated Canadian epidemic isolates (CMRSA1 and CMRSA2) with the community-associated Canadian epidemic isolates did reveal additional factors that might be contributing to their prevalence in the community and hospital settings, which included ORFs encoding potential virulence factors involved in capsular biosynthesis, serine proteases, epidermin, adhesion factors, regulatory functions, leukotoxins, and exotoxins.

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