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J Gen Microbiol. 1992 Jan;138(1):169-80.

Physical mapping of the mec region of an Australian methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineage and a closely related American strain.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway 08854.


Methicillin-resistant (Mcr) staphylococci contain chromosomal DNA that is absent from Mcs cells. This extra DNA harbours the methicillin resistance determinant mec and often other resistance determinants. The mec region can differ substantially in structure among different isolates. We present studies on the mec region of a group of Staphylococcus aureus isolates prevalent in Australia and London. Southern hybridization analyses of a prototype Australian isolate, ANS46, and an isogenic Mcs deletion mutant, ANS62, allowed the physical map of the region to be extended to 55 kb. The DNA corresponding to the deletion, which includes mec and resistance determinants for mercury, cadmium (Cd) and tetracycline, amounted to 41 kb. It was bounded precisely at one end by the macrolides-lincosamides-streptogramin B (MLS)-resistance transposon, Tn554. Near the other end was an element with homology to Tn554, psi Tn554, which carried the Cdr determinant. The mec region of an American Mcr isolate, R35, was found to be virtually the same as that of ANS46, except that it lacked Tn554. Another class of American Mcr isolates, prevalent since 1987, differs markedly from ANS46 in mec region organization. However, this other American class also contains an insertion of Tn554 in the mec region, and the attachment site for this insertion was found to have significant homology to attachment sites for the Tn554 and psi Tn554 insertions in the mec region of the Australian strain. These results suggest possible roles of Tn554 and Tn554-like elements in the evolutionary variation of the mec region.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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