Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 28362383
J Vis Exp 2017 Mar;(121)
One important feature of the major opportunistic human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is its extraordinary ability to rapidly acquire resistance to antibiotics. Genomic studies reveal that S. aureus carries many virulence and resistance genes located in mobile genetic elements, suggesting that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) plays a critical role in S. aureus evolution. However, a full and detailed description of the methodology used to study HGT in S. aureus is still lacking, especially regarding natural transformation, which has been recently reported in this bacterium. This work describes three protocols that are useful for the in vitro investigation of HGT in S. aureus: conjugation, phage transduction, and natural transformation. To this aim, the cfr gene (chloramphenicol/florfenicol resistance), which confers the Phenicols, Lincosamides, Oxazolidinones, Pleuromutilins, and Streptogramin A (PhLOPSA)-resistance phenotype, was used. Understanding the mechanisms through which S. aureus transfers genetic materials to other strains is essential to comprehending the rapid acquisition of resistance and helps to clarify the modes of dissemination reported in surveillance programs or to further predict the spreading mode in the future.