Detection by Polymerase Chain Reaction of Genes Encoding Aminoglycoside-Modifying Enzymes in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Isolates of Epidemic Phage Types. Belgian Study Group of Hospital Infections (GDEPIH/GOSPIZ)

J Med Microbiol. 1994 Oct;41(4):282-90. doi: 10.1099/00222615-41-4-282.


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to identify the aacA-aphD, aphA3 and aadC genes, encoding the aminoglycoside-modifying enzymes AAC(6')-APH(2"), APH(3')III and ANT(4'4"), respectively, and the methicillin resistance determinant mecA, in epidemic aminoglycoside and methicillin-resistant isolates of Staphylococcus aureus. In total, 37 isolates collected in the period 1980-1985 and 81 isolates from the period 1991-1992 were obtained from 10 different Belgian hospitals. Epidemic isolates from the earlier period were characterised by phage type C (6/47/54/75) of phage group III, whereas two other epidemic phage types of group III-types A (77) and B (47/54/75/77/84/85)--were commonest in isolates from the second period. The bifunctional AAC(6')-APH(2") was the enzyme encountered most frequently. The prevalence of APH(3')III decreased significantly in the 1991-1992 period, while ANT(4',4") was found solely in isolates from this period. Resistance mechanisms were more complex in isolates from the 1991-1992 period and the mecA gene was detected in all isolates. The PCR results corresponded well with those obtained in the radiochemical phosphocellulose paper binding assay. Isolates from the 1991-1992 period were shown to express significantly higher levels of acetyltransferase activity than isolates from the 1980s.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / metabolism*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteriophage Typing
  • Base Sequence
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Methicillin Resistance* / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics
  • Nucleotidyltransferases / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Phosphotransferases / genetics
  • Phosphotransferases / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / classification
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / enzymology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*
  • Transferases / genetics*
  • Transferases / metabolism


  • Aminoglycosides
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA Primers
  • Transferases
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Phosphotransferases
  • Nucleotidyltransferases