A comparative review on the pathogenicity and virulence factors of meticillin-resistant and meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus

Erika Kocsis, Katalin Kristóf, Péter Hermann, Ferenc Rozgonyi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Citations (Scopus)


Staphylococcus aureus infections are important causes of morbidity and mortality either in hospitals or in the community. It is worth examining comparatively two major populations, the meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and the meticillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). The debate about the pathogenic role of MRSA has existed ever since such strains appeared. The controversial opinions have inspired several researchers to examine the factors that can contribute to the pathogenicity and virulence of MRSA and MSSA. The aim of this review is to compare MRSA and MSSA strains according to pathogenic factors and virulence. Comparison will be made of possible differences between MRSA and MSSA, including the cell growth kinetics, slime layer production, lipid content, cell-surface proteins, enzyme activity, virulence gene combinations and toxin production. Showing possible differences in various aspects of virulence, the results of phagocytosis assays and in-vivo animal studies are also reviewed. The clinical relevance of any differences will be made by comparing mortality rates and hospital costs of MSSA and MRSA infections. In addition, the hospital-associated MRSA and the community-acquired MRSA are described in terms of the virulence factors and infections caused by these types of MRSA. In conclusion, the most important reason for the controversial results is the heterogeneous nature of the meticillin-resistant population. To give more correct results, the comparison of at least selected and congenic MRSA and MSSA strain pairs derived from the same wild-type MRSA isolates would be required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalReviews in Medical Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2010



  • Community-acquired meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Gene combinations
  • Hospital-associated meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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