arginine catabolic mobile element, ACME

arginine catabolic mobile element, ACME

A genetic element recently acquired by some MRSA strains by horizontal gene transmission, possibly from Staphylococcus epidermidis . This element encodes an arginine deaminase pathway and an oligopeptide permease system. These are likely to confer a growth and survival advantage for these strains and their clones. The possibility thus arises of the replacement of the common low-virulence skin colonizing staphylococci by aggressive MRSA strains capable of causing severe skin and soft tissue infections and necrotizing pneumonia in otherwise healthy people.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005