Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) are the bacterial adaptive immune system against foreign nucleic acids. Given the variable nature of CRISPR, it could be a good marker for molecular epidemiology. Group A streptococcus is one of the major human pathogens. It has two CRISPR loci, including CRISPR01 and CRISPR02. The aim of this study was to analyze the distribution of CRISPR-associated gene cassettes (cas) and CRISPR arrays in highly prevalent emm types. The cas cassette and CRISPR array in two CRISPR loci were analyzed in a total of 332 strains, including emm1, emm3, emm4, emm12, and emm28 strains. The CRISPR type was defined by the spacer content of each CRISPR array. All strains had at least one cas cassette or CRISPR array. More than 90% of the spacers were found in one emm type, specifically. Comparing the consistency between emm and CRISPR types by Simpson's index of diversity and the adjusted Wallace coefficient, CRISPR01 type was concordant to emm type, and CRISPR02 showed unidirectional congruence to emm type, suggesting that at least for the majority of isolates causing infection in high income countries, the emm type can be inferred from CRISPR analysis, which can further discriminate isolates sharing the same emm type.
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