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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1999 Jun;18(6):393-8.

Molecular characterization and transfer among Staphylococcus strains of a plasmid conferring high-level resistance to mupirocin.

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Instituto de Microbiologia Prof. Paulo de Góes-UFRJ, CCS-Cidade Universitária, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


In this work, mupirocin resistance was correlated with the presence of plasmids in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains isolated in the Rio de Janeiro Federal University Hospital in Brazil, where topical mupirocin has been used extensively since 1990. Of 19 strains studied, those exhibiting high-level resistance carried a large and relaxable plasmid of about 35 kb. Mupirocin-sensitive derivatives, obtained by growth at 42 C of a strain exhibiting high-level resistance, were devoid of the large plasmid, which was designated pMG1. Mupirocin resistance was transferred to strain RN8411 during overnight filter-matings at low frequencies (7.0 x 10(-9)/donor). The pMG1 plasmid was shown to be responsible for high-level mupirocin resistance in our isolates and to be incompatible with pGO1. Hybridization experiments suggested that mupirocin resistance in pMG1 is due to the presence of the ileS-2 gene. The pMG1 plasmid was successfully and bidirectionally transferred from Staphylococcus aureus to Staphylococcus epidermidis, suggesting that the latter may be a reservoir of this resistance plasmid. No transfer was detected to Staphylococcus haemolyticus. The development of self-transferable high-level mupirocin resistance should be considered when using mupirocin to control the spread of MRSA in hospitals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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