Potentially conjugative plasmids harboring Tn6636, a multidrug-resistant and composite mobile element, in Staphylococcus aureus

J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2021 Mar 30:S1684-1182(21)00055-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jmii.2021.03.003. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to provide detailed genetic characterization of Tn6636, a multidrug-resistant and composite mobile element, in clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus.

METHODS: A total of 112 ermB-positive methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) and 224 ermB-positive methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates collected from 2000 to 2015 were tested for the presence of Tn6636. Detection of the plasmids harboring Tn6636 was performed by S1 nuclease digestion pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis, conjugation test, and whole genome sequencing (WGS).

RESULTS: Prevalence of Tn6636 in MSSA is higher than that in MRSA. Ten MSSA isolates and 10 MRSA isolates carried Tn6636. The 10 MSSA isolates belonged to three sequence types (ST), including ST7 (n = 6), ST5 (n = 3), and ST59 (n = 1). The 10 MRSA isolates belonged to ST188 (n = 8) and ST965 (n = 2). Analysis of plasmid sequences revealed that Tn6636 was harbored by six different mosaic plasmids. In addition to resistance genes, some plasmids also harbored toxin genes.

CONCLUSION: The presence of multi-resistant Tn6636 in plasmids of both MSSA and MRSA with various STs suggests its broad dissemination. Results indicate that Tn6636 has existed for at least 16 years in Taiwan. The mosaic plasmids harboring Tn6636 can be transferred by conjugation. Ongoing surveillance of Tn6636 is essential to avoid continued spreading of resistant plasmids.

PMID:33840606 | DOI:10.1016/j.jmii.2021.03.003