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J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Mar;32(3):846-7.

Discrimination of epidemic and nonepidemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains on the basis of protein A gene polymorphism.

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  • 1Molecular Microbiology Unit, National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


The X region of the protein A gene of Staphylococcus aureus contains a highly polymorphic sequence which is composed of repeats of 24 bp. We used amplification by PCR to investigate whether this region could be used to discriminate between epidemic and nonepidemic methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains. Most epidemic MRSA strains (24 of 33) harbored more than seven repeats, while most nonepidemic MRSA strains (10 of 14) contained seven or fewer repeats. It is conceivable that a longer X region results in a better exposition of the Fc-binding region of protein A, thereby facilitating colonization of host surfaces and contributing to the epidemic phenotype.

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