Distribution of Leukocidins, Exfoliative Toxins, and Selected Resistance Genes Among Methicillin-resistant and Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus Clinical Strains in Egypt

Rehab Mohammed Elbargisy1 , 2 , * Open Modal Authors Info & Affiliations
The Open Microbiology Journal 30 June 2022 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18742858-v16-e2204210



Infection with Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus) is an increasing health problem worldwide. This pathogen has multiple virulence factors that contribute to its pathogenesis in a wide range of diseases. The present study aimed to investigate the prevalence of leukocidins, exfoliative toxins, and common antimicrobial resistance genes among Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Methicillin-Sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) strains collected from various clinical sources in Egypt.


Isolates were identified as S.aureus by the standard microbiological methods. Methicillin resistance was detected phenotypically by cefoxitin disc diffusion method and genotypically by PCR for detection of mecA gene. PCR was also used to detect the presence of leukocidin genes (LukD, LukE, LukF-PV, and LukS-PV), exfoliative toxin genes (eta and etb), and antibiotic resistance genes (tetK, tetM, ermA, ermC, msrA, and aacA-aphD).


About 50.5% of tested isolates were methicillin resistant by cefoxitin disc assay, while mecA gene was amplified in 64.6% of isolates. The highest prevalent toxin gene was lukE (93%) and the least prevalent one was eta (1%). The resistance genes tetK and tetM were detected in nearly 50% of the tested strains but lower prevalence rates were recorded for aacA-aphD, msrA, ermA, and ermC genes.


Methicillin resistance was highly prevalent among tested S.aureus strains. Regarding the studied virulence and resistance genes, no significant difference was detected between MRSA and MSSA strains, except for ermA gene p<0.05 which was highly prevalent in MRSA strains. So, the variation between MRSA and MSSA strains in the response to treatment may be attributed to the resistance of MRSA strains to all β-lactams in addition to other possible acquired resistance mechanisms. Accordingly, fewer options of antimicrobial medications are available to treat MRSA infections.

Keywords: MRSA, MSSA, Leukocidin, Exfoliative toxins, Antimicrobial resistance, Staphylococcus aureus.
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