Epidemiology and Infection

Research Article

Detection of mecA, femA, and femB genes in clinical strains of staphylococci using polymerase chain reaction

N. Kobayashia1, H. Wua1, K. Kojimaa1, K. Taniguchia1, S. Urasawaa1, N. Ueharaa2, Y. Omizua2, Y. Kishia2, A. Yagihashia2 and I. Kurokawaa2

a1 Department of Hygiene, School of Medicine, Sapporo Medical University, S-1, W-17, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060, Japan

a2 Department of Laboratory Diagnosis, School of Medicine, Sapporo Medical University, S-1, W-16, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060, Japan

Abstract

MecA, a structural gene located on the chromosome of Staphylococcus aureus, characterizes methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and femA and femB(fem) genes encode proteins which influence the level of methicillin resistance of S. aureus. In order to examine effectiveness of detecting mecA and fem genes in identification of MRSA, the presence of these genes in 237 clinically isolated strains of staphylococci was investigated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). An amplified mecA DNA fragment of 533 base pairs (bp) was detected in 100% of oxacillin-resistant S. aureus, in 16·7 % of oxacillin-sensitive S. aureus, in 81·5% of S. epidermidis, and in 58·3% of other coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS). While the PCR product of femA (509 bp) or femB (651 bp) was obtained from almost all the S. aureus strains except for five oxacillin-resistant strains (2·5%), neither of these genes were detected in CNS. Therefore, the detection of femA and femB together with mecA by PCR was considered to be a more reliable indicator to identify MRSA by differentiating it from mecA-positive CNS than single detection of mecA.

(Accepted May 26 1994)

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