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J Clin Microbiol. 2007 Mar;45(3):725-9. Epub 2007 Jan 3.

Identification of the capsular polysaccharides in Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates by PCR and agglutination tests.

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INSERM, E0230, Lyon, F-69008, France.


Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of nosocomial and community-acquired infections. The predominance of two capsular polysaccharides, types 5 and 8, on the surface of clinical isolates led to the development of a conjugate vaccine (StaphVAX) based on capsular polysaccharides types 5 and 8 conjugated to a carrier protein. We have studied the capsular phenotypes and genotypes of 195 isolates representative of all clinical syndromes that encompassed both hospital and community-acquired infections. These isolates were mainly detected in France between January 2001 and December 2004. In this population, most of clinical isolates (87%) expressed either capsular polysaccharide type 5 (42%) or 8 (45%), whereas 13% were nontypeable by the serotyping method with antibodies specific to capsular polysaccharide type 5 or 8. These 26 nontypeable strains were further serotyped and were demonstrated to express the cell wall surface antigen 336, a polyribitol phosphate N-acetylglucosamine, which resembles cell wall teichoic acid. Among methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains, we found a predominance of serotype 5 for 64% of strains, whereas MSSA isolates were predominantly capsular serotype 8 (60%). All S. aureus clinical isolates included in the present study have been investigated by PCR method, demonstrating that all isolates carried either the cap5 or the cap8 locus.

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