Genome sequencing of a historic staphylococcus aureus collection reveals new enterotoxin genes and sheds light on the evolution and genomic organization of this key virulence gene family

Jo Dicks, Jake D. Turnbull, Julie Russell, Julian Parkhill, Sarah Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We take advantage of a historic collection of 133 Staphylococcus aureus strains accessioned between 1924 and 2016, whose genomes have been long-read sequenced as part of a major National Collection of Type Cultures (NCTC) initiative, to conduct a gene family-wide computational analysis of enterotoxin genes. We identify two novel staphylococcal enterotoxin (pseudo)genes (sel29p and sel30), the former of which has not been observed in any contemporary strain to date. We provide further information on five additional enterotoxin genes or gene variants that either have recently entered the literature or for which the nomenclature or description is currently unclear (selz, sel26, sel27, sel28, and ses-2p). An examination of over 11,000 RefSeq genomes in search of wider support for these seven (pseudo)genes led to the identification of an additional three novel enterotoxin gene family members (sel31, sel32, and sel33) plus two new variants (seh-2p and ses-3p). We cast light on the genomic distribution of the enterotoxin genes, further defining their arrangement in gene clusters. Finally, we show that cooccurrence of enterotoxin genes is prevalent, with individual NCTC strains possessing as many as 18 enterotoxin genes and pseudogenes, and that clonal complex membership rather than time of isolation is the key factor in determining enterotoxin load.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00587-20
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Volume203
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Enterotoxin gene family
  • Genome analysis
  • National Collection of Type Cultures
  • Staphylococcus aureus

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