shsA: A novel orthologous of sasX/sesI virulence genes is detected in Staphylococcus haemolyticus Brazilian strains. Infect Genet Evol 2022;97:105189.Abstract.
The surface protein SasX, has a key role in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization and pathogenesis, and has been associated with the epidemic success of some MRSA clones. To date, only one SasX homologous protein, named SesI, has been described in Staphylococcus epidermidis. In this work, we analyze the occurrence of the sasX gene and its genetic environment in Staphylococcus haemolyticus S. haemolyticus clinical strains (n = 62) were screened for the presence of the sasX gene and its carrier, the prophage Φ SPβ-like. A deep characterization was done in one strain (MD43), through which we determined the complete nucleotide sequence for the S. haemolitycus sasX-like gene. Whole genome sequencing of strain MD43 was performed, and the gene, termed here because of its unique attributes, shsA, was mapped to the Φ SPβ-like prophage sequence. The shsA gene was detected in 33 out of 62 strains showing an average identity of 92 and 96% with the sasX and sesI genes and at the amino acid level, 88% identity with SasX and 92% identity with SesI. The ~124Kb Φ SPβ-like prophage sequence showed a largely intact prophage compared to its counterpart in S. epidermidis strain RP62A, including the sesI insertion site. In conclusion, we identified a new sasX ortholog in S. haemolyticus (shsA). Its horizontal spread from this reservoir could represent an emergent threat in healthcare facilities since so far, no S. aureus sasX+ strains have been reported in Brazil.