Screening of virulence genes in Staphylococcus aureus isolates from rabbits

David Viana Martín, Laura Selva, Mariola Penadés, Juan Manuel Corpa

Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is a versatile pathogen able to cause disease in both humans and animals. In rabbits, this bacterium infects animals of different ages, producing several purulent lesions. The ability of S. aureus to cause disease depends on a combination of virulence factors. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the distribution of bacterial virulence determinants in 69 S. aureus isolates from rabbits. Some virulence factors (7 adhesins, 1 toxin and 1 protease) were positive in all rabbit S. aureus isolates analysed, while others (1 adhesin and 10 toxins) were always negative. The remaining virulence factors were more variable among isolates. An association between genotype and the different profiles of virulence factors was observed, but not with the type of lesion (P<0.05). One strain of each genotype was further analysed by multilocus sequence typing, generating ST121, ST96 and ST2951, determining a greater number of enterotoxins in ST121 isolates compared to ST96 and ST2951 isolates, which could justify the different pathogenicity between strains. 


Keywords

Staphylococcus aureus; rabbit; virulence factors; genotype; MLST

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References

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