Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus sequence type (ST) 5 isolates from health care and agricultural sources adhere equivalently to human keratinocytes

Samantha J. Hau, Steven Kellner, Kirsten C. Eberle, Ursula Waack, Susan L. Brockmeier, Jisun S. Haan, Peter R. Davies, Timothy Frana, Tracy L. Nicholson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus aureus is part of the nasal microbiome of many humans and has become a significant public health burden due to infections with antibioticresistant strains, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains. Several lineages of S. aureus, including MRSA, are found in livestock species and can be acquired by humans through contact with animals. These livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA) isolates raise public health concerns because of the potential for livestock to act as reservoirs for MRSA outside the hospital setting. In the United States, swine harbor a mixed population of LA-MRSA isolates, with the sequence type 398 (ST398), ST9, and ST5 lineages being detected. LA-MRSA ST5 isolates are particularly concerning to the public health community because, unlike the isolates in the ST398 and ST9 lineages, isolates in the ST5 lineage are a significant cause of human disease in both the hospital and community settings globally. The ability of swine-associated LA-MRSA ST5 isolates to adhere to human keratinocytes in vitro was investigated, and the adherence genes harbored by these isolates were evaluated and compared to those in clinical MRSA ST5 isolates from humans with no swine contact. The two subsets of isolates adhered equivalently to human keratinocytes in vitro and contained an indistinguishable complement of adherence genes that possessed a high degree of sequence identity. Collectively, our data indicate that, unlike LA-MRSA ST398 isolates, LA-MRSA ST5 isolates do not exhibit a reduced genotypic or phenotypic capacity to adhere to human keratinocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02073-17
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Susan Huang from the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine and Binh Diep from the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, for providing the clinical strains used in this study. Additional assistance with completion of the adherence assays was provided by our student employees, Maya Weese and Isabella Smith. Financial support was provided by the National Pork Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture


  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Swine

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