A simple STAR Element Repetitive-PCR (SER-PCR) typing method for the rapid characterization of Staphylococcus aureus
Introduction: Staphylococcus aureus repeat (STAR) elements are abundant repeat sequences that are highly variable in numbers and locations within the genome of S. aureus. The evolutionary variation of these repeats occurs rapidly over time and may correlate with their evolutionary lineage. Therefore, the aim of this study is to analyze STAR elements to develop a simple PCR-based typing technique that can be used routinely in clinical laboratories.
Methodology: The genomes of 10 reference strains of S. aureus were analyzed to identify the number and location of STAR elements. One pair of PCR primers was designed to target the variable region of these elements. The designed primers were first evaluated against 13 well-known reference strains of S. aureus and eventually evaluated against 40 well-characterized clinical isolates.
Results: STAR element repetitive-PCR (SER-PCR) showed good typeability with acceptable discriminatory power against the reference and clinical strains. The new method clearly differentiated between community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) and hospital-associated (HA-MRSA) strains. Phylogenetic analysis of the SER-PCR patterns and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) data showed good correlation between the two methods.
Conclusions: This study provides a simple genotyping method for S. aureus based on the variation of the amplicon size of a single set of primers and rapidly extracted DNA. The method is rapid with acceptable discriminatory power and does not require a sophisticated apparatus or special expertise. The results suggest that SER-PCR could be routinely useful in any clinical microbiology laboratory, particularly in developing countries.
Copyright (c) 2019 Ibrahim Ali Al-Zahrani
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).