We applied two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) to the total exoproteins secreted from pathogenic MRSA strains and identified major protein spots by N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis. In approximately 300 to 500 spots visualized on each gel, various exoproteins and cell-associated proteins were identified and their sites on the gels confirmed for construction of a reference map. Major exotoxins such as enterotoxins SEA, SEB, and SEC,, toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1), and hemolysins were distributed in the region of pI 6.8 to 8.1 and MW 21 to 35 kDa. Although the differences between calculated and observed values of pI and MW were relatively small in each exoprotein, those of several proteins including alpha-hemolysin and SEB were considerably deviated from the positions of the expected values. Some exoproteins were detected as multiple spots. These included beta-hemolysin, enterotoxins SEA, SEB, and SEC3, glutamic acid-specific endopeptidase, glycerophosphoryl diester phosphodiesterase and triacylglycerol lipase. The multiple spots of these exoproteins may be generated by the action of own proteases. Certain similarities of 2-DE patterns among strains belonging to the same coagulase types were observed. On the basis of 2-DE image analysis, coagulase type II strains secreted somewhat larger amounts of SEB and SEC3 as well as TSST-1 than the strains belonging to other coagulase types. Taken together, 2-DE analysis of exoproteins is applicable to epidemiological studies for MRSA, as compared with pulsed field gel electrophoresis of restricted chromosomal DNA.