Reduction in fecal microbiota diversity and short-chain fatty acid producers in Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infected individuals as revealed by PacBio single molecule, real-time sequencing technology

Original Article


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may cause potentially lethal infections. Increasing evidence suggests that the gut microbiota is associated with human health. Yet, whether patients with MRSA infections carry specific signatures in their fecal microbiota composition has not been determined. Thus, this study aimed to compare the fecal microbiota profile of MRSA-positive patients (n=15) with individuals without MRSA infection (n=15) by using the PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) DNA sequencing system and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Mann-Whitney tests and unweighted UniFrac principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) showed that the profile of fecal microbiota was apparently different between the two populations. Both the community richness and diversity were reduced in the MRSA-positive group (p<0.050). The genera Acinetobacter and Enterococcus were highly enriched in the MRSA-positive group, whereas less short-chain fatty acid (SCFA)-producing bacteria, including Butyricimonas, Faecalibacterium, Roseburia, Ruminococcus, Megamonas and Phascolarctobacterium, were detected in the MRSA-positive group. At species level, the species Acinetobacter baumannii and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron were prevalent in the MRSA-positive group, whereas opposite trends were observed in 17 other species, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Lactobacillus rogosae, Megamonas rupellensis and Phascolarctobacterium faecium. Positive correlations were observed between Acinetobacter baumannii and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (R=0.554, p=0.001), as well as hypersensitive C reactive protein (hsCRP) (R=0.406, p=0.026). Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was negatively associated with ESR (R=-0.545, p=0.002), hsCRP (R=-0.401, p=0.028) and total bile acids (TBA) (R=-0.364, p=0.048). In conclusion, the fecal microbiota structure was different between MRSA-positive and -negative patients. The increase in potential pathogens with the reduction of beneficial populations, such as SCFA-producing bacteria, in MRSA-positive patients may affect prognosis.


Compliance with ethical standards



Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical University.

Informed consent

All participants involved in this study gave their informed consent.

Supplementary material

10096_2017_2955_MOESM1_ESM.doc (62 kb)
Table S1Sample information (DOC 61.5 kb)
10096_2017_2955_MOESM2_ESM.doc (32 kb)
Table S2Primer information for quantitative polymerase chain reaction and reference strains (DOC 31.5 kb)
10096_2017_2955_MOESM3_ESM.doc (57 kb)
Table S3Alpha-diversity of samples (DOC 57 kb)
10096_2017_2955_MOESM4_ESM.tif (1 mb)
Fig. S1(TIFF 1 mb)
10096_2017_2955_Fig7_ESM.gif (52 kb)
Fig. S1

(a) Shannon-Wiener curves and (b) rarefaction curves of each sample. Red and blue lines represent the MRSA-positive and -negative samples, respectively


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Zhao
    • 2
  • L. Nian
    • 1
  • L. Y. Kwok
    • 2
  • T. Sun
    • 2
  • J. Zhao
    • 1
  1. 1.The Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical UniversityHohhotChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Dairy Biotechnology and Engineering, Education Ministry of ChinaInner Mongolia Agricultural UniversityHohhotChina

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