Relationship between Vancomycin MIC and Virulence Gene Expression in Clonal Complexes of Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Strains Isolated from Left-Sided Endocarditis

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2020 Feb 21;64(3):e01579-19. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01579-19. Print 2020 Feb 21.


Higher vancomycin MICs have been associated with more complicated courses and higher mortality rates in patients with Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia and infective endocarditis (IE). The aim of this study was to investigate whether the strains belonging to the cohort of 93 patients from a previously published study in which patients with strains with vancomycin MICs of ≥1.5 μg/ml presented higher mortality rates and systemic emboli than patients with strains with vancomycin MICs of <1.5 μg/ml had specific patterns of virulence factors, clonal complex (CC) types, or the ability to form biofilms. Vancomycin MICs were determined by Etest, and the isolates underwent spa typing to infer the CC, biofilm studies, a thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal assay, and multiplex PCR for the presence of virulence genes. We found no differences in genes encoding adhesins, toxins, or other putative virulence genes according to the vancomycin MIC group. CC30, CC34, and CC45 represented nearly half of the isolates, and there was no association with the vancomycin MIC. agr subgroups I and III predominated, with no association with the vancomycin MIC. Isolates with higher vancomycin MICs exhibited a poorer ability to form biofilms with and without the presence of vancomycin (2.03 versus 2.48 [P < 0.001], respectively, for isolates with higher vancomycin MICs and 2.60 versus 2.87 [P = 0.022], respectively, for isolates with lower vancomycin MICs). In the multivariable analysis, efb and V8 were risk factors for major emboli (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 7.5 and 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.2 to 46.6 for efb, and aOR = 3.9 and 95% CI = 1.1 to 14.1 for V8), whereas no genotypic predictors of in-hospital mortality were found. No clear associations between genes encoding virulence factors, agr type, clonal complexes, mortality, and major embolic events according to vancomycin MIC group were found.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; agr; biofilm; clonal complex; emboli; endocarditis; mortality; prognosis; vancomycin MIC; virulence factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / genetics
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / microbiology
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Methicillin / pharmacology*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Staphylococcal Infections / genetics
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity
  • Vancomycin / pharmacology*
  • Virulence / genetics
  • Virulence Factors


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Virulence Factors
  • Vancomycin
  • Methicillin