Characterization of a conjugative staphylococcal mupirocin resistance plasmid

T. M. Morton, J. L. Johnston, J. Patterson, G. L. Archer

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88 Scopus citations


We studied conjugative plasmids encoding high-level mupirocin resistance. These plasmids were found in Staphylococcus aureus isolates from two geographic locations in the United States. Transfer genes on three mupirocin resistance plasmids with different restriction endonuclease profiles were indistinguishable by DNA hybridization from those on pG01, a conjugative aminoglycoside resistance plasmid representative of similar plasmids that are prevalent in the United States. One mupirocin resistance plasmid, pG0400 (34 kb), was smaller than pG01 (52 kb) because of the absence from pG0400 of DNA, found on pG01, that contained genes encoding resistance to aminoglycosides, trimethoprim, and quaternary ammonium compounds flanked by directly repeated copies of the insertion sequence (IS)-like element IS431-IS257. The plasmids pG0400 and pG01 were otherwise indistinguishable except for the presence in pG0400 of a 4.5-kb HindIII fragment encoding mupirocin resistance. The added mupirocin resistance gene was flanked by two directly repeated copies of IS431/257. The nucleotide sequence of DNA contiguous to the outside of the IS elements, as well as those of the elements themselves, was identical in both pG01 and pG0400, and there were no target site duplications flanking either copy of the element. We conclude that the mupirocin resistance gene was added to an existing conjugative plasmid in conjunction with the deletion of other resistance genes by recombination at IS elements. The construction of conjugative plasmids carrying a mupirocin resistance gene may be a model for the mobility of other resistance genes newly acquired by staphylococci.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1272-1280
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology


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