Molecular and phenotypic characterization of staphylococcus epidermidis isolates from healthy conjunctiva and a comparative analysis with isolates from ocular infection

Luis A. Flores-Páez, Juan C. Zenteno, María D. Alcántar-Curiel, Carlos F. Vargas-Mendoza, Sandra Rodríguez-Martínez, Mario E. Cancino-Diaz, Janet Jan-Roblero, Juan C. Cancino-Diaz

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Copyright: © 2015 Flores-Páez et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Staphylococcus epidermidis is a common commensal of healthy conjunctiva and it can cause endophthalmitis, however its presence in conjunctivitis, keratitis and blepharitis is unknown. Molecular genotyping of S. epidermidis from healthy conjunctiva could provide information about the origin of the strains that infect the eye. In this paper two collections of S. epidermidis were used: one from ocular infection (n = 62), and another from healthy conjunctiva (n = 45). All isolates were genotyped by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing (MLST), staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec), detection of the genes icaA, icaD, IS256 and polymorphism type of agr locus. The phenotypic data included biofilm production and antibiotic resistance. The results displayed 61 PFGE types from 107 isolates and they were highly discriminatory. MLST analysis generated a total of 25 STs, of which 11 STs wer e distributed among the ocular infection isolates and lineage ST2 was the most frequent (48.4%), while 14 STs were present in the healthy conjunctiva isolates and lineage ST5 was the most abundant (24.4%). By means of a principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) and a discriminant analysis (DA) it was found that ocular infection isolates had as discriminant markers agr III or agr II, SCCmec V or SCCmec I, mecA gene, resistance to tobramycin, positive biofilm, and IS256 + . In contrast to the healthy conjunctiva isolates, the discriminating markers were agr I, and resistance to chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, gatifloxacin and oxacillin. The discriminant biomarkers of ocular infection were examined in healthy conjunctiva isolates, and it was found that 3 healthy conjunctiva isolates [two with ST2 and another with ST9] (3/45, 6.66%) had similar genotypic and phenotypic characteristics to ocular infection isolates, therefore a small population from healthy conjunctiva could cause an ocular infection. These data suggest that the healthy conjunctiva isolates do not, in almost all cases, infect the eye due to their large genotypic and phenotypic difference with the ocular infection isolates.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalPLoS ONE
StatePublished - 14 Aug 2015


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