Fluoroquinolone resistance among Gram-positive cocci

Lancet Infect Dis. 2002 Sep;2(9):530-8. doi: 10.1016/s1473-3099(02)00369-9.


Resistance to fluoroquinolones among Gram-positive cocci has emerged as these antimicrobial agents have become extensively used in clinical medicine. Resistance is effected by changes in the bacterial target enzymes DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV, which reduce drug binding, and by action of native bacterial membrane pumps that remove drug from the cell. In both cases, quinolone exposure selects for spontaneous mutants that are present in large bacterial populations, and which contain chromosomal mutations that alter the target protein or increase the level of pump expression. Resistance among clinical isolates has been greatest in Staphylococcus aureus and particularly among meticillin-resistant strains, in which both selection by quinolone exposure and transmission of clonal strains in health-care settings have contributed to high prevalence. Resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae has also emerged in the community. Fluoroquinolone resistance has arisen in multidrug-resistant clones and its prevalence has been especially high in Hong Kong and Spain. Further spread and selection of such resistance could compromise the utility of a valuable class of antimicrobial agents, a point that emphasises the importance of the careful use of these agents in appropriate patients and doses, as well as careful infection-control practices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents* / metabolism
  • Anti-Infective Agents* / pharmacology
  • DNA Gyrase / drug effects*
  • DNA Gyrase / metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria* / drug effects
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria* / enzymology
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Fluoroquinolones
  • DNA Gyrase