Journal of clinical microbiology

Differences between two clinical Staphylococcus capitis subspecies as revealed by biofilm, antibiotic resistance, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiling.

PMID 23052315


Coagulase-negative staphylococci have been identified as major causes of late-onset neonatal bacteremia in neonatal intensive care units. Sixty isolates of Staphylococcus capitis obtained from blood cultures of neonates between 2000 and 2005 were examined in this study. Biochemical analysis confirmed that 52 of these isolates belonged to the subsp. urealyticus, and the remaining 8 belonged to the subsp. capitis. Isolates of the predominant subsp. urealyticus clones were characterized by their resistance to penicillin, erythromycin, and oxacillin and their biofilm formation ability, whereas subsp. capitis isolates were generally antibiotic susceptible and biofilm negative. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) after SacII digestion separated the 60 isolates into five major clusters. Sequence analysis showed that, in S. capitis, the ica operon plus the negative regulator icaR was 4,160 bp in length. PCRs demonstrated the presence of the ica operon in all isolates. Further analysis of five isolates (two biofilm-positive subsp. urealyticus, one biofilm-negative subsp. urealyticus, and two biofilm-negative subsp. capitis) revealed that the ica operons were identical in all of the biofilm-positive subsp. urealyticus strains; however, the biofilm-negative isolates showed variations. The distinctive phenotypic and genotypic characteristics revealed by this study may affect the epidemiology of the two subspecies of S. capitis in the clinical setting. These results may provide a better understanding of the contribution of these two species to bloodstream infections in neonates.

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