Phage-mediated horizontal transfer of a Staphylococcus aureus virulence-associated genomic island

Moon, B.Y., Park, J.Y., Hwang, S.Y., Robinson, D.A., Thomas, J.C. ORCID: 0000-0002-1599-9123, Fitzgerald, J.R., Park, Y.H. and Seo, K.S., 2015. Phage-mediated horizontal transfer of a Staphylococcus aureus virulence-associated genomic island. Scientific Reports, 5: 9784. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen of humans and animals. The capacity of S. aureus to adapt to different host species and tissue types is strongly influenced by the acquisition of mobile genetic elements encoding determinants involved in niche adaptation. The genomic islands νSaα and νSaβ are found in almost all S. aureus strains and are characterized by extensive variation in virulence gene content. However the basis for the diversity and the mechanism underlying mobilization of the genomic islands between strains are unexplained. Here, we demonstrated that the genomic island, νSaβ, encoding an array of virulence factors including staphylococcal superantigens, proteases, and leukotoxins, in addition to bacteriocins, was transferrable in vitro to human and animal strains of multiple S. aureus clones via a resident prophage. The transfer of the νSaβ appears to have been accomplished by multiple conversions of transducing phage particles carrying overlapping segments of the νSaβ. Our findings solve a long-standing mystery regarding the diversification and spread of the genomic island νSaβ, highlighting the central role of bacteriophages in the pathogenic evolution of S. aureus.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Creators: Moon, B.Y., Park, J.Y., Hwang, S.Y., Robinson, D.A., Thomas, J.C., Fitzgerald, J.R., Park, Y.H. and Seo, K.S.
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Date: 20 April 2015
Volume: 5
ISSN: 2045-2322
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1038/srep09784DOI
BFsrep09784Publisher Item Identifier
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 11 Apr 2018 07:52
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2018 07:52
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/33247

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