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Int J Med Microbiol. 2011 Jan;301(1):64-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2010.06.002. Epub 2010 Aug 21.

MALDI-TOF MS fingerprinting allows for discrimination of major methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineages.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Early detection of outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and initiation of adequate infection control measures are important objectives in hospital hygiene. To reach these goals, prompt determination of epidemiologic relatedness of clinical MRSA isolates is essential. Genetic typing methods like pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), spa typing, or multilocus sequence typing (MLST) have a high discriminatory power, however, these methods are time consuming and cost intensive. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential of matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for discrimination of major MRSA lineages. By analysis of mass spectra from 25 representative MRSA isolates belonging to the 5 major hospital-acquired (HA) MRSA clonal complexes (CC5, CC8, CC22, CC30, CC45; deduced from spa typing), reproducible spectrum differences were observed at 13 characteristic m/z values allowing robust discrimination of the clonal complexes. When 60 independent clinical MRSA isolates were tested for the presence or absence of the 13 characteristic MALDI-TOF MS peaks, 15 different profiles (MALDI types) could be detected. Hierarchical clustering of the MALDI types showed high concordance with the clonal complexes. Our results suggest that MALDI-TOF MS has the potential to become a valuable first-line tool for inexpensive and rapid typing of MRSA in infection control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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