Globalisation has entailed a massive increase in trade and human mobility facilitating the rapid spread of infectious agents, including those that are drug resistant. A particularly serious threat to human health is posed by methicillin-resistant staphylococcal strains which have acquired molecular mechanisms to evade the action of beta-lactam antibiotics (BLAs). Full expression of high-level methicillin resistance involves a complex network of molecules and depends primarily on sufficient expression of a penicillin-binding protein with low sensitivity towards BLAs. Other factors include the fine-tuned regulation of autolytic activity of cell-wall components, as well as an optimal rate of peptidoglycan precursor formation and a highly specific peptidoglycan precursor structure. Three-dimensional structural data are available on several of the pieces involved in the jigsaw puzzle and provide a molecular basis for the understanding of methicillin resistance and for the design of new therapeutic strategies.