Metronidazole (Mtz) resistance in Helicobacter pylori has been found to be associated with mutations in rdxA, a gene encoding an oxygen-insensitive NADPH nitroreductase, and enhanced by mutations in frxA, a gene encoding a NAD(P)H-flavin oxidoreductase. The roles of these two genes in Mtz resistance in H. pylori were examined in this study. The rdxA and frxA genes were sequenced in nine pairs of strains isolated from biopsies obtained from patients before and after failed eradication treatments which included Mtz and resulted in the appearance of resistant strains. Metronidazole resistance could be explained in seven of these pairs of strains by mutations in rdxA and frxA. However, in one pair of strains, rdxA was identical in the susceptible and resistant strains, and only changes in frxA were observed; and in another pair, neither rdxA nor frxA were different in the susceptible and resistant strains. Sequencing of the upstream region of frxA and of the recA gene in the latter pair of strains did not reveal any mutations. To establish whether mutations in frxA alone could be involved in Mtz resistance, a resistant Escherichia coli strain transformed with the frxA of a Mtz susceptible H. pylori strain was rendered susceptible, and transformation with a mutated H. pylori frxA gene under the same conditions did not change the resistant E. coli phenotype. The results suggested that a Mtz resistance phenotype may arise in H. pylori without mutations in rdxA or frxA, or with mutations only in frxA.