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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: comparison of susceptibility testing methods and analysis of mecA-positive susceptible strains.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is responsible for an increasing number of serious nosocomial and community-acquired infections. Phenotypic heterogeneous drug resistance (heteroresistance) to antistaphylococcal beta-lactams affects the results of susceptibility testing. The present study compared the MRSA-Screen latex agglutination test (Denka Seiken Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) for detection of PBP 2a with agar dilution, the VITEK-1 and VITEK-2 systems (bioMérieux, St. Louis, Mo.), and the oxacillin agar screen test for detection of MRSA, with PCR for the mecA gene used as the "gold standard" assay. Analysis of 107 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates and 203 MRSA isolates revealed that the MRSA-Screen latex agglutination test is superior to any single phenotype-based susceptibility testing method, with a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 99.1%. Only one isolate that lacked mecA was weakly positive by the MRSA-Screen latex agglutination test. This isolate was phenotypically susceptible to oxacillin and did not contain the mecA gene by Southern blot hybridization. The oxacillin agar screen test, the VITEK-1 system, the VITEK-2 system, and agar dilution showed sensitivities of 99.0, 99.0, 99.5, and 99%, respectively, and specificities of 98.1, 100, 97.2, and 100%, respectively. The differences in sensitivity or specificity were not statistically significant. Oxacillin bactericidal assays showed that mecA- and PBP 2a-positive S. aureus isolates that are susceptible to antistaphylococcal beta-lactams by conventional methods are functionally resistant to oxacillin. We conclude that the accuracy of the MRSA-Screen latex agglutination method for detection of PBP 2a approaches the accuracy of PCR and is more accurate than any susceptibility testing method used alone for the detection of MRSA.[1]


  1. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: comparison of susceptibility testing methods and analysis of mecA-positive susceptible strains. Sakoulas, G., Gold, H.S., Venkataraman, L., DeGirolami, P.C., Eliopoulos, G.M., Qian, Q. J. Clin. Microbiol. (2001) [Pubmed]
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