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J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Feb;32(2):388-92.

Clotting activity in Staphylococcus schleiferi subspecies from human patients.

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  • 1Département de Recherche en Bactériologie Médicale, Faculté de Médecine Alexis Carrel, Lyon, France.


Staphylococcus schleiferi subsp. schleiferi is a coagulase-negative staphylococcus, usually present as a contaminant in human specimens. A near relative, S. schleiferi subsp. coagulans, possesses coagulase activity but has not been reported from humans. We here describe three isolates of pseudocoagulase-positive S. schleiferi subsp. schleiferi and one isolate of S. schleiferi subsp. coagulans from human patients. The pseudocoagulase from the S. schleiferi subsp. schleiferi isolates differs from S. aureus staphylocoagulase by being sensitive to a combination of protease inhibitors (aprotinin, N-ethylmaleimide, and heparin). These isolates could all easily be confused with S. aureus in a typical clinical laboratory, since they all possess a heat-stable DNase and promote clotting formation. Moreover, S. schleiferi subsp. coagulans produces protein A, and S. schleiferi subsp. schleiferi expresses a clumping factor (fibrinogen affinity factor). Southern blot hybridization with an S. aureus coa-specific probe revealed no sequence related to the coa gene in any of the S. schleiferi isolates, and their riboprobe profiles and biochemical characteristics were typical of S. schleiferi subspecies, not of S. aureus. This study demonstrates that both subspecies of S. schleiferi can promote clotting of rabbit plasma in the standard tube test for coagulase.

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