Transfer of scarlet fever-associated elements into the group A Streptococcus M1T1 clone

Nouri L Ben Zakour, Mark R Davies, Yuanhai You, Jonathan H K Chen, Brian M Forde, Mitchell Stanton-Cook, Ruifu Yang, Yujun Cui, Timothy C Barnett, Carola Venturini, Cheryl-lynn Y Ong, Herman Tse, Gordon Dougan, Jianzhong Zhang, Kwok-Yung Yuen, Scott A Beatson, Mark J Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The group A Streptococcus (GAS) M1T1 clone emerged in the 1980s as a leading cause of epidemic invasive infections worldwide, including necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome. Horizontal transfer of mobile genetic elements has played a central role in the evolution of the M1T1 clone, with bacteriophage-encoded determinants DNase Sda1 and superantigen SpeA2 contributing to enhanced virulence and colonization respectively. Outbreaks of scarlet fever in Hong Kong and China in 2011, caused primarily by emm12 GAS, led to our investigation of the next most common cause of scarlet fever, emm1 GAS. Genomic analysis of 18 emm1 isolates from Hong Kong and 16 emm1 isolates from mainland China revealed the presence of mobile genetic elements associated with the expansion of emm12 scarlet fever clones in the M1T1 genomic background. These mobile genetic elements confer expression of superantigens SSA and SpeC, and resistance to tetracycline, erythromycin and clindamycin. Horizontal transfer of mobile DNA conferring multi-drug resistance and expression of a new superantigen repertoire in the M1T1 clone should trigger heightened public health awareness for the global dissemination of these genetic elements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15877
JournalScientific Reports
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins/genetics
  • China/epidemiology
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial/physiology
  • Hong Kong/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Interspersed Repetitive Sequences/genetics
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phylogeny
  • Scarlet Fever/epidemiology
  • Streptococcus/genetics
  • Virulence/genetics

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