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Molecular Epidemiology of Microorganisms

Volume 551 of the series Methods in Molecular Biology™ pp 189-202

Date:

spa Typing for Epidemiological Surveillance of Staphylococcus aureus

  • Marie HallinAffiliated withLaboratoire de Référence MRSA-Staphylocoques, Department of Microbiology, Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • , Alexander W. FriedrichAffiliated withLaboratoire de Référence MRSA-Staphylocoques, Department of Microbiology, Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles
  • , Marc J. StruelensAffiliated withLaboratoire de Référence MRSA-Staphylocoques, Department of Microbiology, Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles

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Abstract

The spa typing method is based on sequencing of the polymorphic X region of the protein A gene (spa), present in all strains of Staphylococcus aureus. The X region is constituted of a variable number of 24-bp repeats flanked by well-conserved regions. This single-locus sequence-based typing method combines a number of technical advantages, such as rapidity, reproducibility, and portability. Moreover, due to its repeat structure, the spa locus simultaneously indexes micro- and macrovariations, enabling the use of spa typing in both local and global epidemiological studies. These studies are facilitated by the establishment of standardized spa type nomenclature and Internet shared databases.

Key words

Epidemiology methicillin resistance phylogeny S. aureus sequence analysis software staphylococcal protein A typing methods