The number, diversity and restriction enzyme fragmentation patterns of plasmids harboured by 44 multidrug-resistant hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MR-HA-MRSA) isolates, two multidrug-resistant community-acquired MRSA (MR-CA-MRSA), 50 hospital-acquired MRSA (HA-MRSA) isolates (from the University Hospital Birmingham, NHS Trust, UK) and 34 community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) isolates (from general practitioners in Birmingham, UK) were compared. In addition, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) type following SmaI chromosomal digest and SCCmec element type assignment were ascertained for each isolate. All MR-HA-MRSA and MR-CA-MRSA isolates possessed the type II SCCmec, harboured no plasmid DNA and belonged to one of five PFGE types. Forty-three out of 50 HA-MRSA isolates and all 34 CA-MRSA isolates possessed the type IV SCCmec and all but 10 of the type IV HA-MRSA isolates and nine CA-MRSA isolates carried one or two plasmids. The 19 non-multidrug-resistant isolates (NMR) that did not harbour plasmids were only resistant to methicillin whereas all the NMR isolates harbouring at least one plasmid were resistant to at least one additional antibiotic. We conclude that although plasmid carriage plays an important role in antibiotic resistance, especially in NMR-HA-MRSA and CA-MRSA, the multidrug resistance phenotype from HA-MRSA is not associated with increased plasmid carriage and indeed is characterised by an absence of plasmid DNA. © 2005 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- plasmid DNA