The ecological importance of the Staphylococcus sciuri species group as a reservoir for resistance and virulence genes

Vet Microbiol. 2014 Jul 16;171(3-4):342-56. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2014.02.005. Epub 2014 Feb 15.


The Staphylococcus sciuri species group includes five species that are most often presented as commensal animal-associated bacteria. The species of this group are Staphylococcus sciuri (with three subspecies), Staphylococcus lentus, Staphylococcus vitulinus, Staphylococcus fleurettii and Staphylococcus stepanovicii. Members of these group are commonly found in a broad range of habitats including animals, humans and the environment. However, those species have been isolated also from infections, both in veterinary and human medicine. Members of this group have been shown to be pathogenic, though infections caused by these species are infrequent. Furthermore, members of the S. sciuri species group have also been found to carry multiple virulence and resistance genes. Indeed, genes implicated in biofilm formation or coding for toxins responsible of toxic shock syndrome and multi-resistance, similar to those carried by Staphylococcus aureus, were detected. This group may thereby represent a reservoir for other bacteria. Despite its recognized abundance as commensal bacteria and its possible role as reservoir of virulence and resistance genes for other staphylococci, the S. sciuri species group is often considered harmless and, as such, not as well documented as, for example, S. aureus. More investigation into the role of the S. sciuri species group as commensal and pathogenic bacteria is required to fully assess its medical and veterinary importance.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Epidemiology; Phylogeny; Population structure; Virulence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Reservoirs / microbiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Species Specificity
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / veterinary*
  • Staphylococcus / genetics*
  • Staphylococcus / pathogenicity*
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / genetics*


  • Virulence Factors