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J Med Microbiol. 1993 Dec;39(6):422-8.

Co-elimination of mec and spa genes in Staphylococcus aureus and the effect of agr and protein A production on bacterial adherence to cell monolayers.

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Department of Microbiology, UMDS, Guy's Medical School, London Bridge.


Phenotypic loss of protein A production was tested in six methicillin-resistant (McR) Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates and their isogenic methicillin-sensitive (McS) variants by a radiolabelled IgG-binding assay with washed cells and by Western blotting of supernates prepared from lysed washed cells. Genomic DNA was probed for homology with the protein A gene (spa) in EcoRI digests and for homology to the methicillin resistance gene (mec) in HindIII digests. The McS variants had lost homology with mec. An isogenic pair of McR and McS strains, and derivatives of S. aureus 8325-4 with site-specific mutations of the accessory gene regulator locus (agr) and spa, were tested for adherence to human peritoneal mesothelial cells in monolayer culture. The isogenic pair were also tested for adherence to HEp-2 and Vero cell monolayers in assays with 3H thymidine-labelled bacteria. McR isolates produced protein A which was absent from three strains that had become McS. This correlated with deletion of the spa locus. Spa homology, but reduced production of protein A, was retained in one McS strain which also showed reduced adherence to HEp-2, Vero and mesothelial cells (p < 0.05) compared with the parent McR strain. A spa mutation in strain 8325-4 did not significantly affect adherence to mesothelial cells but mutation in agr increased adherence significantly in both Spa+ and Spa- strains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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