The primary mechanism of fusidic acid resistance in clinical strains of Staphylococcus aureus involves acquisition of the fusB determinant. The genetic elements(s) responsible are incompletely defined, and the mechanism of resistance is unknown. Here we report the cloning, sequencing and overexpression of a single gene (fusB) from plasmid pUB101 capable of conferring resistance to fusidic acid in S. aureus. The fusB gene is located on a transposon-like element and encodes a small (25 kDa), cytoplasmic protein for which homologues exist in a number of clinically important and environmental Gram-positive bacterial species. Bioinformatic analysis of regions immediately upstream of fusB suggested that expression of resistance is regulated by translational attenuation, which was confirmed through use of reporter fusions. FusB was overexpressed in Escherichia coli as a polyhistidine-tagged fusion product, and the purified protein shown to protect an in vitro staphylococcal translation system from inhibition by fusidic acid in a specific and dose-dependent fashion. Purified FusB bound staphylococcal EF-G, the target of fusidic acid. The protein provided no protection from inhibition by fusidic acid when added to an in vitro E. coli translation system, consistent both with the observed failure of FusB to bind E. coli EF-G, and its inability to confer resistance in E. coli.