Allelic Discrimination Assays for MRSA Strains


Researchers at TGen and Northern Arizona University (NAU) have developed methods to rapidly identify and differentiate Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains using real-time PCR assays.  These allelic discrimination assays target SNPs to distinguish the clinically important MRSA strains USA100, USA300, USA 600, and other MRSA strains, in order to better identify index strains of an outbreak and understand the clonal relationship between strains.


MRSA has become one of the most dangerous infectious agents, with a higher mortality rate than HIV-AIDS due to the fact that MRSA does not respond to the antibiotics generally used to treat Staphylococcus and other bacterial infections.  Such dangerous soft tissue and skin MRSA infections may occur in both healthcare environments and community environments (e.g., athletic team facilities, correctional facilities, military training camps).  Traditional methods of typing MRSA include pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), which produces results that fail to sufficiently distinguish MRSA isolates and are not conducive database submission, in addition to the PFGE process being laborious and time consuming


The highly specific and sensitive allelic discrimination assays developed by TGen and NAU can be used as single assays or as multiplexed assays to identify MRSA sources of infection and link cases together.  The assays target stable mutations that differentiate particular virulent strains of MRSA from other strains for quicker and more reliable results.  The signature collection used in these assays is also capable of being updated and refined as knowledge of MRSA and population structures is accumulated.



Link to US Issued Patent US 9,340,836

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katie Bray
Intellectual Property Counsel
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Paul Keim
Elizabeth Driebe
David Engelthaler
Jolene Bowers