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Vet Microbiol. 2007 Nov 15;125(1-2):128-40. Epub 2007 May 24.

Microarray based study on virulence-associated genes and resistance determinants of Staphylococcus aureus isolates from cattle.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Faculty of Medicine, Carl Gustav Carus at the Technical University of Dresden, Fetscherstrasse 74, D-01307, Dresden, Germany.


Staphylococcus aureus is a common pathogen which can colonise and infect not only man, but also domestic animals. Especially, infection of cattle is of high economic relevance as S. aureus is an important causal agent of bovine mastitis. In the present contribution, a DNA microarray was applied for the study of 144 different gene targets, including resistance genes and genes encoding exotoxins, in S. aureus isolated from cows. One hundred and twenty-eight isolates from Germany and Switzerland were tested. These isolates were assigned to 20 different strains and nine clonal complexes. The majority of isolates belonged either to apparently closely related clonal complexes 8, 25, and 97 (together 34.4%) or were related to the sequenced bovine strain RF122 (48.4%). Notable characteristics of S. aureus of bovine origin are the carriage of intact haemolysin beta (in 82% of isolates tested), the absence of staphylokinase (in 89.1%), the presence of allelic variants of several exotoxins such as toxic shock syndrome toxin and enterotoxin N, and the occurrence of the leukocidin lukF-P83/lukM (in 53.1%). Two isolates were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). One of them was a clonal complex 8 MRSA related to the epidemic MRSA strain Irish 01. The other one belonged to ST398/spa-type 34 resembling a newly emerging MRSA strain which has been described to occur in humans as well as in domestic animals. The presence of these two strains highlights the possibility of transfers of S. aureus strains between different host species.

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