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Future Microbiol. 2009 Jun;4(5):565-82. doi: 10.2217/fmb.09.30.

Genetics of antimicrobial resistance in Staphylococcus aureus.

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School of Biological Sciences, Macleay Building A12, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Strains of Staphylococcus aureus that are resistant to multiple antimicrobial compounds, including most available classes of antibiotics and some antiseptics, are a major threat to patient care owing to their stubborn intransigence to chemotherapy and disinfection. This reality has stimulated extensive efforts to understand the genetic nature of the determinants encoding antimicrobial resistance, together with the mechanisms by which these determinants evolve over time and are spread within bacterial populations. Such studies have benefited from the application of molecular genetics and in recent years, the sequencing of over a dozen complete staphylococcal genomes. It is now evident that the evolution of multiresistance is driven by the acquisition of discrete preformed antimicrobial resistance genes that are exchanged between organisms via horizontal gene transfer. Nonetheless, chromosomal mutation is the catalyst of novel resistance determinants and is likely to have an enhanced influence with the ongoing introduction of synthetic antibiotics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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