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J Appl Microbiol. 2003;95(4):787-98.

Microarray analysis of erythromycin resistance determinants.

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FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD 20740-3835, USA.



To develop a DNA microarray for analysis of genes encoding resistance determinants to erythromycin and the related macrolide, lincosamide and streptogramin B (MLS) compounds.


We developed an oligonucleotide microarray containing seven oligonucleotide probes (oligoprobes) for each of the six genes (ermA, ermB, ermC, ereA, ereB and msrA/B) that account for more than 98% of MLS resistance in Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates. The microarray was used to test reference and clinical S. aureus and Streptococcus pyrogenes strains. Target genes from clinical strains were amplified and fluorescently labelled using multiplex PCR target amplification. The microarray assay correctly identified the MLS resistance genes in the reference strains and clinical isolates of S. aureus, and the results were confirmed by direct DNA sequence analysis. Of 18 S. aureus clinical strains tested, 11 isolates carry MLS determinants. One gene (ermC) was found in all 11 clinical isolates tested, and two others, ermA and msrA/B, were found in five or more isolates. Indeed, eight (72%) of 11 clinical isolate strains contained two or three MLS resistance genes, in one of the three combinations (ermA with ermC, ermC with msrA/B, ermA with ermC and msrA/B).


Oligonucleotide microarray can detect and identify the six MLS resistance determinants analysed in this study.


Our results suggest that microarray-based detection of microbial antibiotic resistance genes might be a useful tool for identifying antibiotic resistance determinants in a wide range of bacterial strains, given the high homology among microbial MLS resistance genes.

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