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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e33967. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033967. Epub 2012 May 2.

High throughput multiple locus variable number of tandem repeat analysis (MLVA) of Staphylococcus aureus from human, animal and food sources.

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Univ Paris-Sud, Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, UMR 8621, Orsay, France.


Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen, a relevant pathogen in veterinary medicine, and a major cause of food poisoning. Epidemiological investigation tools are needed to establish surveillance of S. aureus strains in humans, animals and food. In this study, we investigated 145 S. aureus isolates recovered from various animal species, disease conditions, food products and food poisoning events. Multiple Locus Variable Number of Tandem Repeat (VNTR) analysis (MLVA), known to be highly efficient for the genotyping of human S. aureus isolates, was used and shown to be equally well suited for the typing of animal S. aureus isolates. MLVA was improved by using sixteen VNTR loci amplified in two multiplex PCRs and analyzed by capillary electrophoresis ensuring a high throughput and high discriminatory power. The isolates were assigned to twelve known clonal complexes (CCs) and--a few singletons. Half of the test collection belonged to four CCs (CC9, CC97, CC133, CC398) previously described as mostly associated with animals. The remaining eight CCs (CC1, CC5, CC8, CC15, CC25, CC30, CC45, CC51), representing 46% of the animal isolates, are common in humans. Interestingly, isolates responsible for food poisoning show a CC distribution signature typical of human isolates and strikingly different from animal isolates, suggesting a predominantly human origin.

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