We report the complete nucleotide sequence and analysis of pETBTY825, a Staphylococcus aureus TY825 plasmid encoding exfoliative toxin B (ETB). S. aureus TY825 is a clinical isolate obtained from an impetigo patient in 2002. The size of pETBTY825, 60.6 kbp, was unexpectedly larger than that of the archetype pETBTY4 (̃30 kbp). Genomic comparison of the plasmids shows that pETBTY825 has the archetype pETBTY4 as the backbone and has a single large extra DNA region of 22.4 kbp. The extra DNA region contains genes for resistance to aminoglycoside [aac(6')/aph(2'')], macrolide (msrA), and penicillin (blaZ). A plasmid deletion experiment indicated that these three resistance elements were functionally active. We retrospectively examined the resistance profile of the clinical ETB-producing S. aureus strains isolated in 1977 to 2007 using a MIC determination with gentamicin (GM), arbekacin (ABK), and erythromycin (EM) and by PCR analyses for aac(6')/aph(2'') and msrA using purified plasmid preparations. The ETB-producing S. aureus strains began to display high resistance to GM, which was parallel with the detection of aac(6')/aph(2'') and mecA, after 1990. Conversely, there was no significant change in the ABK MIC during the testing period, although it had a tendency to slightly increase. After 2001, isolates resistant to EM significantly increased; however, msrA was hardly detected in ETB-producing S. aureus strains, and only five isolates were positive for both aac(6')/aph(2'') and msrA. In this study, we report the emergence of a fusion plasmid carrying the toxin gene etb and drug resistance genes. Prevalence of the pETB TY825 carrier may further increase the clinical threat, since ETB-producing S. aureus is closely related to more severe impetigo or staphylococcal scalded-skin syndrome (SSSS), which requires a general antimicrobial treatment.
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