Staphylococcus aureus is a highly versatile and evolving bacterium of great clinical importance. S. aureus can evolve by acquiring single nucleotide polymorphisms and mobile genetic elements and by recombination events. Identification and location of novel genomic elements in a bacterial genome are not straightforward, unless the whole genome is sequenced. Optical mapping is a new tool that creates a high-resolution, in situ ordered restriction map of a bacterial genome. These maps can be used to determine genomic organization and perform comparative genomics to identify genomic rearrangements, such as insertions, deletions, duplications, and inversions, compared to an in silico (virtual) restriction map of a known genome sequence. Using this technology, we report here the identification, approximate location, and characterization of a genetic inversion of approximately 500 kb of a DNA element between the NRS387 (USA800) and FPR3757 (USA300) strains. The presence of the inversion and location of its junction sites were confirmed by site-specific PCR and sequencing. At both the left and right junction sites in NRS387, an IS1181 element and a 73-bp sequence were identified as inverted repeats, which could explain the possible mechanism of the inversion event.
J Bacteriol (Journal of bacteriology)
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