f Coagulase and protein A polymorphisms do not contribute to persistence of nasal colonisation by Staphylococcus aureus
- Authors: A. Van Belkum2, N. H. Riewarts Eriksen, Marly Sijmons, W. Van Leeuwen, Marjolein Van Den Bergh, Jan Kluytmans, F. Espersen, H. Verbrugh
- 2Corresponding author: Dr A. van Belkum.
- First Published Online: 01 March 1997, Journal of Medical Microbiology 46: 222-232, doi: 10.1099/00222615-46-3-222
- Subject: Bacterial Pathogenicity
- Issue Published:
The nasal carriage rate of Staphylococcus aureus was examined in a longitudinal study of 31 healthy Danish volunteers. Each person was classified as persistent (>8 positive cultures from 10 examinations), an intermittent carrier (50–80% positive cultures) or an ocassional carrier (positive cultures on 10–40% of ocassions only). One hundred and twenty strains from these persons were subjected to phage typing and random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Phage and RAPD typing were in close agreement. RAPD confirmed the spread of a particular S. aureus clone (phage type 95) throughout Denmark. However, no common genotype or phenotype characteristics of S. aureus that could separate persistent from intermittent or incidental colonisers were identified. The immunoglobulin binding protein A and the prothrombin binding coagulase protein are both putative S. aureus virulence or defence factors. Analysis of polymorphisms in the variable repeat regions in the genes for these proteins showed no correlation between the number of repeat units and, consequently, the protein structure with the ability of strains to persist in the human nasal mucosa. The amount of protein A, detectable by its IgG binding activity, appeared not to be correlated to persistence of carriage. Thus protein A and coagulase -gene polymorphisms do not seem to play a significant role in the propensity of S. aureus to colonise human nasal epithelium. Furthermore, based on the genetic heterogeneity encountered among the S. aureus strains it is suggested that within the current study population, no single clonal lineage of S. aureus has increased capability to colonise the human nasal epithelium.
© 1997 The Pathological Society of Great Britian and Ireland | Published by the Microbiology Society
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