Staphylococcus epidermidis is a significant cause of nosocomial disease. However, the taxonomy of this pathogen, particularly at subspecies level, is unclear. A multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme has therefore been investigated as a tool to elucidate taxonomic relationships within this group, based on genetic relatedness. DNA sequences for internal fragments of seven housekeeping genes were compared in 47 geographically and temporally diverse S. epidermidis isolates that were obtained from clinical infections. Twenty-three different allelic profiles were detected; 17 of these were represented by single strains and the largest profile group contained 17 isolates. Diversity of the same collection of isolates was investigated by using PFGE of SmaI-digested genomic DNA to test the discrimination and validity of the MLST approach. Isolates within the largest profile group were resolved into four distinct PFGE clusters on the basis of their SmaI digest patterns. Isolates within other profile groups that contained multiple isolates had matching PFGE SmaI patterns within each group. It appears that MLST is an effective method for grouping S. epidermidis strains at the subspecies level; however, it is not as discriminatory as it has been for other species for which MLST schemes have been established and, used alone, would not be a useful method for epidemiological studies. In addition, it was demonstrated that this method was effective for confirming the identity of S. epidermidis CoNS (coagulase-negative) isolates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Microbiology (medical)