Comparative virulence studies and transcriptome analysis of Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from animals
Seleem, Mohamed N.
Hussain, Hafiz Iftikhar
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Several studies have been conducted to check the prevalence of methicillin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in animals and animal-derived food products but limited data are available regarding their virulence and associated gene expression profile. In the present study, antibiotic resistance and virulence of MRSA and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus animal isolates were determined in vitro by agar dilution, biofilm formation, adhesion, invasion and intracellular survivability assays. In addition, the pathogenicity of these isolates was examined in a murine model of S. aureus sepsis. MRSA1679a, a strain isolated from chicken, was observed to be highly virulent, in cell culture and in mouse model, and exhibited extensive resistant profile. Comparative gene expression profile of MRSA1679a and the reference human MRSA strain (ATCC 29213) was performed using Illumina-based transcriptome and RT-qPCR analyses. Several virulence elements including 22 toxin genes were detected in MRSA animal-isolate. In addition, we observed enhanced expression of crucial virulence regulators, such as sarA and KdpDE in MRSA animal-isolate compared to the human isolate. Collectively, gene expression profile including several virulence and drug-resistance factors confirmed the unique and highly virulent determinants of the MRSA strain of poultry origin which warrants further attention due to significant threat to public health.