RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Prevalence and diversity of enterotoxin genes with genetic background of Staphylococcus aureus isolates from different origins in China.

Staphylococcal enterotoxins (SE) induce toxin-mediated diseases, such as food poisoning. In the present study, 568 isolates from different sources were tested for the prevalence of 18 SE genes and performed spa typing. In addition, we characterized the relationships between the distribution of SE genes and molecular clones based on multilocus sequence typing (MLST), spa and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing in selected 250 isolates. Approximately 54.40% of the isolates from different sources harbored one or more SE genes forming 120 distinct gene profiles. Seven genes, sea, seb, seg, seo, sem, seq, and sel were more frequently detected. The distributions of the SE genes among the isolates from human, animals, and foodborne origins were highly different with isolates from environments (P<0.01). The classic SE genes in both foodborne and human origin isolates were significantly higher than that in animal origin isolates (P<0.01), whereas the prevalence of genes of egc cluster and the other genes was similar in human, animal, and foodborne origin isolates (P>0.05). We identified two important gene clusters, sea-sek-seq, which is closely related to hospital-acquired (HA) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)-III, and the egc cluster, which accounts for nearly half of all genes. Approximately 71% isolates could be typed by spa, yielding 103 spa types, of which 18 spa types were primary types. In clonal complex (CC) 239, an important Asian HA-MRSA-III clone from humans, nearly all isolates harbored complete or partial sea-sek-seq cluster; the main spa types were t030 and t037. In CC630, an important new community-associated (CA) MRSA-V CC in China, only sporadic SE genes, three main spa types, t4549, t2196, and t377 were observed. The egc cluster coexisting with other genes was present in isolates of CC5, CC9, CC1281, CC1301, CC30 and sequence type (ST) 25, but completely absent in isolates of CC239, CC59, CC7, and CC88. The results illustrate the genetic clonal diversity and the identity of S. aureus isolates from different sources with respect to SE genes and highlight a correlation between SE genes or gene clusters and CCs, spa, and MRSA clones. The foodborne and human origin isolates were the main potential causes of classic staphylococcal foodborne poisonings, whereas isolates harboring novel genes were new potential hazards to food safety.

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