+49 30 838 51840 / 51843
The multiresistance plasmid pAFS11, obtained from a bovine methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolate, was completely sequenced and analysed for its structure and organisation. Moreover, the susceptibility to the heavy metals cadmium and copper was determined by broth macrodilution. The 49,189-bp plasmid harboured the apramycin resistance gene apmA, two copies of the macrolide/lincosamide/streptogramin B resistance gene erm(B) (both located on remnants of a truncated transposon Tn917), the kanamycin/neomycin resistance gene aadD, the tetracycline resistance gene tet(L) and the trimethoprim resistance gene dfrK. The latter three genes were part of a 7,284-bp segment which was bracketed by two copies of IS431. In addition, the cadmium resistance operon cadDX as well as the copper resistance genes copA and mco were located on the plasmid and mediated a reduced susceptibility to cadmium and copper. Moreover, a complete novel ica-like gene cluster of so far unknown genetic origin was detected on this plasmid. The ica-like gene cluster comprised four different genes whose products showed 64.4-76.9% homology to the Ica proteins known to be involved in biofilm formation of the S. aureus strains Mu50, Mu3 and N315. However, 96.2-99.4% homology was seen to proteins from S. sciuri NS1 indicating an S. sciuri origin. The finding of five different antibiotic resistance genes co-located on a plasmid with heavy metal resistance genes and an ica-like gene cluster is alarming. With the acquisition of this plasmid, antimicrobial multiresistance, heavy metal resistances and potential virulence properties may be co-selected and spread via a single horizontal gene transfer event.