Branched-DNA assay for detection of the mecA gene in oxacillin-resistant and oxacillin-sensitive staphylococci

C. P. Kolbert, J. Arruda, P. Varga-Delmore, X. Zheng, M. Lewis, J. Kolberg, D. H. Persing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The identification of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus isolates in the clinical laboratory has typically been performed by using methods that detect phenotypic expression of resistance determinants. However, these methods may be difficult to interpret and some isolates do not express resistance until selective pressure is administered. Assays that detect genetic determinants are not subject to these limitations and have been effective in distinguishing isolates that are capable of expressing the resistance phenotype. In this study, a novel branched-DNA (bDNA) hybridization assay was used to test for the mecA gene in 416 clinical staphylococcal isolates. The results were compared with those obtained by a PCR-based assay and oxacillin disk diffusion. For 155 Staphylococcus aureus and 261 coagulase-negative Staphylococcus isolates, the bDNA assay and PCR results were 100% concordant. Among the S. aureus isolates, 20 were MecA+ and 135 were MecA-. For the coagulase-negative staphylococci, 150 were MecA+ and 111 were MecA-. The results from the genotypic detection methods were compared with those obtained by oxacillin disk diffusion. No discrepancies were detected among the S. aureus isolates; however, 10 coagulase-negative isolates were MecA+ but oxacillin sensitive and 1 isolate was MecA- but oxacillin resistant. Oxacillin resistance was induced in 6 of the 10 MecA+ isolates previously classified as oxacillin sensitive. These results suggest that the bDNA method described here is a sensitive and efficient method for detection of methicillin resistance in staphylococci and that genetic detection methods may be useful for detection of potential methicillin resistance in the clinical laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2640-2644
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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