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Gene Review

mecA  -  penicillin-binding protein 2'

Staphylococcus epidermidis RP62A

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Disease relevance of mecA

  • The aim of the present study was to characterize clinical isolates of Staphylococcus epidermidis, one of the bacterial species most often implicated in foreign-body-associated infections, for their ability to form biofilms and for the presence of mecA and IS256 element [1].
  • The mecA gene from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus 27r, which encodes the membrane-bound penicillin-binding protein 2a (PBP 2a), was cloned, sequenced, and expressed in Escherichia coli [2].
  • When it was expressed in E. coli, the modified mecA gene from strain 27r encoded a water-soluble form of PBP 2a that was detectable in the cytoplasm of transformants [2].
  • The in vivo expression of aap and mecA was high during early but low during late foreign body infections [3].
  • SCCmec typing of a collection of 44 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE) isolates recovered between 1973 and 1983 from the blood of patients with prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE) was performed by PCR amplification of key genetic elements (mecA, mecI, IS1272, and ccrAB) [4].

High impact information on mecA

  • However, mecA is not involved in the switch of expression phenotype [5].
  • SCCmec is a mobile genetic element that carries the gene (mecA) mediating methicillin resistance in staphylococci [4].
  • Staphylococci that acquire the mecA gene are usually resistant to beta-lactam antibiotics (methicillin or oxacillin resistance). mecA encodes a penicillin-binding protein (PBP 2a) that has a reduced affinity for beta-lactams [6].
  • The discrepant results were (i) eight strains found to be positive by PCR for mecA or ermC but susceptible to the corresponding antibiotic based on disk diffusion and (ii) six strains of S. aureus found to be negative by PCR for mecA or for the four erythromycin resistance genes targeted but resistant to the corresponding antibiotic [7].
  • The gyrA probe hybridized to the same SmaI DNA fragment as the mecA probe in all strains tested [8].

Chemical compound and disease context of mecA


Biological context of mecA


Associations of mecA with chemical compounds

  • Correlation between regulation of mecA transcription and expression of methicillin resistance in staphylococci [13].
  • Three of 5 strains that required oxacillin MICs of 0.5 microgram/ml and all 18 strains that required oxacillin MICs of > or = 1.0 microgram/ml were resistant by oxacillin disk test and were mecA positive [12].
  • The correlation between BBL Crystal MRSA ID and mecA gene PCR was not reliable for CNS (negative predictive value = 68%) [15].
  • Quinupristin/dalfopristin and linezolid show good activity against both mecA-positive and -negative CNS [16].
  • Both the Velogene and the MRSA Screen assays accurately identified mecA-positive staphylococcal strains and can be successfully used for routine application in clinical microbiology laboratories [17].

Other interactions of mecA


Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of mecA

  • Site-specific mutagenesis was used to modify the strain 27r mecA gene to permit removal of the region encoding the putative transmembrane region (amino acids 2 to 22) [2].
  • In Northern blots of total staphylococcal RNA, the phase variants showed no detectable mecA-specific transcription product, whereas parent strain RP62A revealed a strong signal, indicating that mecA transcription is not the mechanism responsible for the decreased methicillin resistance phenotype of phase variants PV1 to PV5 [9].
  • In 164 isolates, the presence of mecA was investigated; 61 strains were mecA-positive and 103 were mecA-negative by Southern blot analysis [21].
  • Thirty-five clinical isolates of coagulase-negative staphylococci with decreased glycopeptide sensitivity were examined by a penicillin-binding protein (PBP2') latex agglutination (LA) test and were compared to the detection of the mecA gene by PCR, and oxacillin susceptibility determined minimum inhibitory concentrations [22].


  1. Analysis of different genetic traits and their association with biofilm formation in Staphylococcus epidermidis isolates from central venous catheter infections. Petrelli, D., Zampaloni, C., D'Ercole, S., Prenna, M., Ballarini, P., Ripa, S., Vitali, L.A. Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. (2006) [Pubmed]
  2. Construction of a water-soluble form of penicillin-binding protein 2a from a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolate. Wu, C.Y., Hoskins, J., Blaszczak, L.C., Preston, D.A., Skatrud, P.L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1992) [Pubmed]
  3. Expression of biofilm-associated genes in Staphylococcus epidermidis during in vitro and in vivo foreign body infections. Vandecasteele, S.J., Peetermans, W.E., Merckx, R., Van Eldere, J. J. Infect. Dis. (2003) [Pubmed]
  4. Related clones containing SCCmec type IV predominate among clinically significant Staphylococcus epidermidis isolates. Wisplinghoff, H., Rosato, A.E., Enright, M.C., Noto, M., Craig, W., Archer, G.L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2003) [Pubmed]
  5. mecA is not involved in the sigmaB-dependent switch of the expression phenotype of methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus epidermidis. Knobloch, J.K., Jäger, S., Huck, J., Horstkotte, M.A., Mack, D. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2005) [Pubmed]
  6. Conversion of oxacillin-resistant staphylococci from heterotypic to homotypic resistance expression. Finan, J.E., Rosato, A.E., Dickinson, T.M., Ko, D., Archer, G.L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2002) [Pubmed]
  7. Correlation between the resistance genotype determined by multiplex PCR assays and the antibiotic susceptibility patterns of Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Martineau, F., Picard, F.J., Lansac, N., M¿enard, C., Roy, P.H., Ouellette, M., Bergeron, M.G. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2000) [Pubmed]
  8. Determination of the chromosomal relationship between mecA and gyrA in methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci. Fey, P.D., Climo, M.W., Archer, G.L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1998) [Pubmed]
  9. Lack of mecA transcription in slime-negative phase variants of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis. Mempel, M., Feucht, H., Ziebuhr, W., Endres, M., Laufs, R., Grüter, L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1994) [Pubmed]
  10. Phenotypic expression of oxacillin resistance in Staphylococcus epidermidis: roles of mecA transcriptional regulation and resistant-subpopulation selection. Dickinson, T.M., Archer, G.L. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (2000) [Pubmed]
  11. Dissemination among staphylococci of DNA sequences associated with methicillin resistance. Archer, G.L., Niemeyer, D.M., Thanassi, J.A., Pucci, M.J. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1994) [Pubmed]
  12. Revised interpretation of oxacillin MICs for Staphylococcus epidermidis based on mecA detection. McDonald, C.L., Maher, W.E., Fass, R.J. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1995) [Pubmed]
  13. Correlation between regulation of mecA transcription and expression of methicillin resistance in staphylococci. Ryffel, C., Kayser, F.H., Berger-Bächi, B. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1992) [Pubmed]
  14. Analysis of diversity of mutations in the mecI gene and mecA promoter/operator region of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Kobayashi, N., Taniguchi, K., Urasawa, S. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1998) [Pubmed]
  15. Choice of a routine method for detecting methicillin-resistance in staphylococci. Wallet, F., Roussel-Delvallez, M., Courcol, R.J. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. (1996) [Pubmed]
  16. In vitro activity of quinupristin/dalfopristin, linezolid, telithromycin and comparator antimicrobial agents against 13 species of coagulase-negative staphylococci. John, M.A., Pletch, C., Hussain, Z. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. (2002) [Pubmed]
  17. Validation of rapid screening tests for the identification of methicillin resistance in staphylococci. van Leeuwen, W.B., Kreft, D.E., Verbrugh, H. Microb. Drug Resist. (2002) [Pubmed]
  18. Characterization of IS1272, an insertion sequence-like element from Staphylococcus haemolyticus. Archer, G.L., Thanassi, J.A., Niemeyer, D.M., Pucci, M.J. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. (1996) [Pubmed]
  19. Application of molecular typing methods to characterize nosocomial coagulase-negative staphylococci collected in a Greek hospital during a three-year period (1998-2000). Spiliopoulou, I., Santos Sanches, I., Bartzavali, C., Ludovice, A.M., Aires de Sousa, M., Dimitracopoulos, G., de Lencastre, H. Microb. Drug Resist. (2003) [Pubmed]
  20. Survey of methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from the fingers of nursing students. Kitao, T. J. Infect. Chemother. (2003) [Pubmed]
  21. Evaluation of different methods for the detection of methicillin resistance in coagulase-negative staphylococci. Jarløv, J.O., Busch-Sørensen, C., Espersen, F., Mortensen, I., Hougaard, D.M., Rosdahl, V.T. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. (1997) [Pubmed]
  22. Rapid detection of methicillin resistance in teicoplanin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci by a penicillin-binding protein 2' latex agglutination method. Knausz, M., Ghidán, A., Grossato, A., Rozgonyi, F. J. Microbiol. Methods (2005) [Pubmed]
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