Toxins (Basel). 2021 Apr 28;13(5):317. doi: 10.3390/toxins13050317.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can cause chronic lung infections in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). One option for managing them is the use of linezolid. We hereby report the in-host emergence of linezolid resistance (LR) in MRSA in CF siblings via a population analysis. A collection of 171 MRSA strains from 68 samples were characterized by determining their linezolid Minimal Inhibitory Concentrations (MICs), analyzing the locus of staphylococcal protein A (spa) and whole genome sequencing. Courses of linezolid were retraced. Strains belonged to three spa types (t002, t045, t127) and two sequence types (ST1, ST5). Emergence of LR occurred under treatment, one year apart in both siblings, in the CC5-MRSA-I Geraldine clone harboring the toxic shock syndrome toxin-1-encoding gene. Resistance was related to a G2576T substitution present in a variable number of 23S rRNA gene copies. Susceptible and resistant strains were co-isolated within samples. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism-based analysis revealed complex colonizations by highly diversified, clonally related populations. LR remains rare in MRSA and there are very few longitudinal analyses documenting its emergence. Analyzing a large MRSA collection revealed new aspects of LR emergence: it emerges in specific subclonal lineages resulting from adaptive diversification of MRSA in the CF lung and this heterogeneity of intra-sample resistance may contribute to compromising antibiotic management.