Recombination-mediated remodelling of host-pathogen interactions during Staphylococcus aureus niche adaptation

Laura E. Spoor, Emily Richardson, Amy C. Richards, Gillian J. Wilson, Chriselle Mendonca, Ravi Kr. Gupta, Paul R. Mcadam, Stephen Nutbeam-tuffs, Nikki S. Black, James P. O'gara, Chia Y. Lee, Jukka Corander, Ross Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Large-scale recombination events have led to the emergence of epidemic clones of several major bacterial pathogens. However, the functional impact of the recombination on clonal success is not understood. Here, we identified a novel widespread hybrid clone (ST71) of livestock-associated Staphylococcus aureus that evolved from an ancestor belonging to the major bovine lineage CC97, through multiple large-scale recombination events with other S. aureus lineages occupying the same ruminant niche. The recombination events, affecting a 329 kb region of the chromosome spanning the origin of replication, resulted in allele replacement and loss or gain of an array of genes influencing host–pathogen interactions. Of note, molecular functional analyses revealed that the ST71 hybrid clone has acquired multiple novel pathogenic traits associated with acquired and innate immune evasion and bovine extracellular matrix adherence. These findings provide a paradigm for the impact of large-scale recombination events on the rapid evolution of bacterial pathogens within defined ecological niches.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobial Genomics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2015


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