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Microbes Infect. 2005 Feb;7(2):187-94. Epub 2005 Jan 5.

Enterotoxins and toxic shock syndrome toxin in Staphylococcus aureus recovered from human nasal carriers and manually handled foods: epidemiological and genetic findings.

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Departamento de Biología Funcional, Area de Microbiología, Universidad de Oviedo, C/Julián Clavería no. 6, 33006 Oviedo, Spain.


A set of 269 Staphylococcus aureus isolates recovered from nasal carriers and manually handled foods in a region of Spain was analyzed for pyrogenic toxin production and toxin genes. Fifty-seven isolates producing at least one of four enterotoxins (SEA, SEB, SEC, SED), 10 isolates producing only toxic shock syndrome toxin (TSST-1), and 10 isolates producing both toxin types were found. The 77 toxigenic isolates were discriminated into 36 SmaI genomic and 13 EcoRI plasmid profiles. A strong relationship between toxin profiles with both SmaI genomic and EcoRI plasmid profiles was revealed. SmaI genomic profiles showing six or less mismatching fragments and similarity coefficient > or =0.7 were included in a lineage. Eight lineages were differentiated; six of them grouped both human and food isolates and two of these also included outbreak-implicated isolates. Two lineages, represented by TSST-SEA and TSST-1, on the one hand, and SEC and SEC-SED isolates, on the other hand, were the most frequent, but only the second was outbreak-related. When SmaI genomic and EcoRI plasmid profiles were hybridized with tst, sea, seb, and sec toxin probes, it was observed that each probe mapped on a different SmaI fragment from isolates falling into the same lineage. All of the probes only mapped on genomic fragments, but sed also mapped on three plasmid fragments. When sej and ser probes were included, they mapped together with sed on the chromosome and on the plasmids. Two plasmids (ca. 33 and 36 kb) carried the expected sed-sej-ser genes, while the other (ca. 53.5 kb) carried sed-sej and ser-like genes. The latter plasmid and the chromosomal location of sed-sej-ser are new findings from this study.

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