Bovine Staphylococcus aureus: Subtyping, evolution, and zoonotic transfer.J Dairy Sci. 2016 Jan; 99(1):515-28.JD
Staphylococcus aureus is globally one of the most important pathogens causing contagious mastitis in cattle. Previous studies using ribosomal spacer (RS)-PCR, however, demonstrated in Swiss cows that Staph. aureus isolated from bovine intramammary infections are genetically heterogeneous, with Staph. aureus genotype B (GTB) and GTC being the most prominent genotypes. Furthermore, Staph. aureus GTB was found to be contagious, whereas Staph. aureus GTC and all the remaining genotypes were involved in individual cow disease. In addition to RS-PCR, other methods for subtyping Staph. aureus are known, including spa typing and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). They are based on sequencing the spa and various housekeeping genes, respectively. The aim of the present study was to compare the 3 analytic methods using 456 strains of Staph. aureus isolated from milk of bovine intramammary infections and bulk tanks obtained from 12 European countries. Furthermore, the phylogeny of animal Staph. aureus was inferred and the zoonotic transfer of Staph. aureus between cattle and humans was studied. The analyzed strains could be grouped into 6 genotypic clusters, with CLB, CLC, and CLR being the most prominent ones. Comparing the 3 subtyping methods, RS-PCR showed the highest resolution, followed by spa typing and MLST. We found associations among the methods but in many cases they were unsatisfactory except for CLB and CLC. Cluster CLB was positive for clonal complex (CC)8 in 99% of the cases and typically positive for t2953; it is the cattle-adapted form of CC8. Cluster CLC was always positive for tbl 2645 and typically positive for CC705. For CLR and the remaining subtypes, links among the 3 methods were generally poor. Bovine Staph. aureus is highly clonal and a few clones predominate. Animal Staph. aureus always evolve from human strains, such that every human strain may be the ancestor of a novel animal-adapted strain. The zoonotic transfer of IMI- and milk-associated strains of Staph. aureus between cattle and humans seems to be very limited and different hosts are not considered as a source for mutual, spontaneous infections. Spillover events, however, may happen.