Mutations in rpoB and fusA cause resistance to rifampicin and fusidic acid in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains from a tertiary hospital in Malaysia.

Research paper by King-Ting KT Lim, Cindy Shuan Ju CS Teh, Mohd Yasim Mohd MY Yusof, Kwai-Lin KL Thong

Indexed on: 18 Dec '13Published on: 18 Dec '13Published in: Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


The prevalence of resistance to rifampicin and fusidic acid among Malaysian strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasing. This study aimed to determine the mechanisms of rifampicin and fusidic acid resistance and the genetic diversity of MRSA strains from a Malaysian tertiary hospital.Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) for 21 MRSA strains were determined by agar dilution test and Etest. The resistance genes, staphylococcal chromosome cassette mec (SCCmec) types, multilocus-sequence typing (MLST) types and spa types, were determined by PCR and DNA sequencing.MIC for rifampicin and fusidic acid resistance ranged from <1 to 8 µg/ml and from <1 to 256 µg/ml, respectively. A double mutation (484Arg/His and 517Glu/Gln) in rpoB causes high rifampicin resistance while a mutational change (461Leu/Lys) in fusA was observed in seven strains highly resistant to fusidic acid. Five of the seven were also resistant to rifampicin (MIC 8 µg/ml) and carried a mutated rpoB gene (484Arg/His). No other acquired fusidic acid resistance gene (fusB, fusC or fusD) was detected. Most (14/21) of the strains belonged to clone ST239-III-t037. Three belonged to ST22-IV-t1378 and the remaining four to ST239-III-t2029, ST239-III-t421, ST1178-IV-t1107 and ST241-III-t363, respectively.The study showed that both rifampicin and fusidic acid resistance was associated with mutational change in rpoB and fusA, respectively. All rifampicin-resistant strains were from the same clone ST239-III-t037 whereas strains resistant to fusidic acid were genetically more diverse.