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PLoS One. 2010 Nov 17;5(11):e14016. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014016.

Characterization of a new SCCmec element in Staphylococcus cohnii.

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Center of Infectious Diseases, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.



Many SCCmec elements of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) could not be typed using multiplex PCR. Such a 'non-typable' SCCmec was encountered in a Staphylococcus cohnii isolate.


The SCCmec type of methicillin-resistant S. cohnii clinical isolate WC28 could not be assigned using multiplex PCR. Newly-designed primers were used to amplify ccrA and ccrB genes. The whole SCCmec was obtained by three overlapping long-range PCR, targeting regions from left-hand inverted repeat (IRL) to ccrA/B, from ccrA/B to mecA and from mecA to orfX. The region abutting IRL was identified using inverse PCR with self-ligated enzyme-restricted WC28 fragments as the template. WC28 SCCmec had a class A mec gene complex (mecI-mecR1-mecA). The ccrA and ccrB genes were closest (89.7% identity) to ccrA(SHP) of Staphylococcus haemolyticus strain H9 and to ccrB3 (90% identity) of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius strain KM241, respectively. Two new genes potentially encoding AAA-type ATPase were found in J1 region and a ψTn554 transposon was present in J2 region, while J3 region was the same as many SCCmec of Staphylococcus aureus. WC28 SCCmec abutted an incomplete SCC element with a novel allotype of ccrC, which was closest (82% identity) to ccrC1 allele 9 in Staphylococcus saprophyticus strain ATCC 15305. Only two direct target repeat sequences, one close to the 3'-end of orfX and the other abutting the left end of WC28 SCCmec, could be detected.


A new 35-kb SCCmec was characterized in a S. cohnii isolate, carrying a class A mec gene complex, new variants of ccrA5 and ccrB3 and two novel genes in the J1 region. This element is flanked by 8-bp perfect inverted repeats and is similar to type III SCCmec in S. aureus and a SCCmec in S. pseudintermedius but with different J1 and J3 regions. WC28 SCCmec was arranged in tandem with an additional SCC element with ccrC, SCC(WC28), but the two elements might have integrated independently rather than constituted a composite. This study adds new evidence of the diversity of SCCmec in CoNS and highlights the need for characterizing the 'non-typable' SCCmec to reveal the gene pool associated with mecA.

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