Three-factor genetic crosses performed by transformation have shown that the methicillin resistance determinant of Staphylococcus aureus strain DU4916 (the mec-4916 marker) is linked to a novobiocin resistance (Novr) marker (nov-142) and mutational sites affecting pyrimidine (pyr-141), purine (pur-102), and histidine (hisG15) biosynthesis in S. aureus strain 8325. The linkage group thus defined is pyr-141-hisG15-nov-142-pur-102-mec-4916. Phage 80alpha previously propagated on a novobiocin-resistant, methicillin-sensitive (Mecs) 8325 strain was used to infect 21 novobiocin-sensitive, methicillin-resistant clinical isolates (including strain DU4916). Among the novobiocin-resistant transductants so obtained from each recipient, between 1 and 5% were methicillin sensitive (reflecting cotransduction of Novr and Mecs). These results are consistent with the genetic determinant of methicillin resistance having a single chromosomal locus in most, if not all, strains of S. aureus.
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