High frequency of Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes in invasive methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strains and the relationship with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Córdoba, Argentina

  • C. Sola
  • H. A. Saka
  • A. Vindel
  • J. L. Bocco
  • Córdoba S. aureus Collaborative Study Group
Concise Article


In the study presented here, the genetic characteristics of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) strains isolated from patients attending hospitals in the city of Córdoba, Argentina, during 1999–2002 were evaluated to determine their genetic relationship with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) clones as part of an effort to control the potential emergence of new epidemic MRSA strains. The results showed there is a high frequency of MSSA strains carrying Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes in invasive infections in Córdoba, Argentina, particularly in those occurring in hospital settings. Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes were found in the genomic background of one clone (ST30-N pulsotype) belonging to a successful internationally distributed MSSA lineage (clonal complex 30), which is closely related to the EMRSA-16 pandemic clone. These genes were also detected in the ancestral clone (ST5-M pulsotype) of the most prevalent MRSA epidemic clone causing healthcare-associated infections in this region, known as the Cordobes/Chilean clone. The molecular characterization of circulating MSSA strains, including the detection of Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes, is thus a useful marker for investigating the evolving epidemiology of hospital- and community-acquired MRSA clones.



The members of the Córdoba S. aureus Collaborative Study Group are as follows: A. Monterisi and M. Rocchi (Hospital Nacional de Clínicas); E. Diaz and R. Lamberghini (Hospital Militar de Córdoba); A. Littvik and T. Lopez (Hospital Rawson); S. Yudowsky (Hospital Infantil); L. Carvajal and C. Culasso (Hospital de Niños); O. Perlo-Morales and M.S. Aiassa (Hospital Córdoba); M. Vilaro and M.E. Bongiovanni (Hospital Privado de Córdoba); S. Mangiaterra and S. Barbon (Hospital Italiano de Córdoba); L. Wolff and B. Vercelli (Clinica Privada Velez Sarsfield); E.M. D’Andrea and A. Lopez (Hospital de Urgencias); G. Pino and V. Muñoz (Hospital San Roque) and M. Bottiglieri (Clinica Reina Fabiola).

This work was supported by the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (ANPCyT) (PICT 05-13446 BID 1728-OC-AR to JLB), National Council for Scientific Research and Technology of Argentina (CONICET), the Secretaría de Ciencia y Técnica-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (SECyT-UNC). JLB is a career investigator member of CONICET.


  1. 1.
    Melles DC, Gorkink RF, Boelens HA, Snijders SV, Peeters JK, Moorhouse MJ, van der Spek PJ, van Leeuwen WB, Simons G, Verbrugh HA, van Belkum A (2004) Natural population dynamics and expansion of pathogenic clones of Staphylococcus aureus. J Clin Invest 114:1732–1740PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jarraud S, Mougel C, Thioulouse J, Lina G, Meugnier H, Forey F, Nesme X, Etienne J, Vandenesch F (2002) Relationships between Staphylococcus aureus genetic background, virulence factors, agr groups (alleles), and human disease. Infect Immun 70:631–641PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Diep BA, Carleton HA, Chang RF, Sensabaugh GF, Perdreau-Remington F (2006) Roles of 34 virulence genes in the evolution of hospital- and community-associated strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. J Infect Dis 193:1495–1503PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sola C, Cortes P, Saka HA, Vindel A, Bocco JL (2006) Evolution and molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus epidemic and sporadic clones in Cordoba, Argentina. J Clin Microbiol 44:192–200PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (2005) Performance standards for antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Fifteenth informational supplement. M100-S15. CLSI, Wayne, PAGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Salgado CD, Farr BM, Calfee DP (2003) Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: a meta-analysis of prevalence and risk factors. Clin Infect Dis 36:131–139PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Aires-de-Sousa M, Conceicao T, de Lencastre H (2006) Unusually high prevalence of nosocomial Panton-Valentine leukocidin-positive Staphylococcus aureus isolates in Cape Verde Islands. J Clin Microbiol 44:3790–3793PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Moran GJ, Krishnadasan A, Gorwitz RJ, Fosheim GE, McDougal LK, Carey RB, Talan DA (2006) Methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections among patients in the emergency department. N Engl J Med 355:666–674PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bocchin CE, Hulten KG, Mason Jr EO, Gonzalez BE, Hammerman WA, Kaplan SL (2006) Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes are associated with enhanced inflammatory response and local disease in acute hematogenous Staphylococcus aureus osteomyelitis in children. Pediatrics 117:433–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Etienne J (2005) Panton-Valentine leukocidin: a marker of severity for Staphylococcus aureus infection? Clin Infect Dis 41:591–593PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Holmes A, Ganner M, McGuane S, Pitt TL, Cookson BD, Kearns AM (2005) Staphylococcus aureus isolates carrying Panton-Valentine leucocidin genes in England and Wales: frequency, characterization, and association with clinical disease. J Clin Microbiol 43:2384–2390PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Robinson DA, Enright MC (2004) Evolution of Staphylococcus aureus by large chromosomal replacements. J Bacteriol 186:1060–1064PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Oliveira DC, Tomasz A, de Lencastre H (2002) Secrets of success of a human pathogen: molecular evolution of pandemic clones of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Lancet, Infect Dis 2:180–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ma XX, Galiana A, Pedreira W, Mowszowicz M, Christophersen I, Machiavello S, Lope L, Benaderet S, Buela F, Vincentino W, Albini M, Bertaux O, Constenla I, Bagnulo H, Llosa L, Ito T, Hiramatsu K (2005) Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Uruguay. Emerg Infect Dis 11:973–976PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Murchan SH, Aucken M, O’neill GL, Ganner M, Cookson BD (2004) Emergence, spread, and characterization of phage variants of epidemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 16 in England and Wales. J Clin Microbiol 42:5154–5160PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Sola
    • 1
  • H. A. Saka
    • 1
  • A. Vindel
    • 2
  • J. L. Bocco
    • 1
  • Córdoba S. aureus Collaborative Study Group
  1. 1.Centro de Investigaciones en Bioquímica Clínica e Inmunología (CIBICI—CONICET), Departamento de Bioquímica Clínica, Facultad de Ciencias QuímicasUniversidad Nacional de CórdobaCórdobaArgentina
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Enfermedades Infecciosas NosocomialesInstituto de Salud Carlos III, Centro Nacional de MicrobiologíaMajadahonda, MadridSpain

Personalised recommendations