Assays for Antibiotic Resistance Gene Detection in Staphylococcus Strains


Researchers at TGen and Northern Arizona University (NAU) have developed a multiplex real-time PCR profiling assay for detecting antibiotic resistance-conferring genes in Staphylococcus strains.  The multiplex assay determines the susceptibility of strains such as MRSA, MSSA, MRSE, and MSSE to antibiotics including aminoglycoside, vancomycin, penicillin, macrolide, and tetracycline using a combination of assays to identify the presence of specific variants in the vanA, aacA, blaZ, ermA, ermC, tetK, tetM, and msrA genes.  Detecting antibiotic resistance gene sequences in these genes informs treatment decisions and reduces trial-and-error for antibiotic treatment regimens in response to Staphylococcus infections.


Though it is a commonly found on the skin and mucus membranes of generally healthy people, some strains of Staphylococcus, including MRSA, exhibit dangerous multiple-antibiotic-resistant phenotypes.  Due to the difficulty treating these infections, Staph infections have a higher mortality rate than HIV-AIDS.  Infections from these strains occur often in healthcare setting among both workers and patients, but are also a primary cause of soft-tissue infection in healthy close-quarter communities such as athletic training facilities, correctional facilities, and military training camps.  Staphylococcus strains have the potential to quickly evolve resistance to antibiotics to which they were previously vulnerable.  Different mechanisms lead to bacterial resistance including enzyme modification, ribosomal mutations, activated efflux of the drug out of the bacteria, and acquisition of antibiotic resistance genes.  The presence of an antibiotic resistance gene sequence in a species or strain is one of the mechanisms that can be useful in determining its susceptibility or resistance phenotype to particular antibiotic agents.


TGen and NAU’s profiling assay provides a rapid, accurate, sensitive and efficient method of determining the evolved resistance for Staphylococcus strains to minoglycoside, vancomycin, penicillin, macrolide, and tetracycline.  Detection of a targeted sequence in any one of the assays denotes susceptibility of the tested strain to a corresponding antibiotic agent, allowing clinicians to make fully-informed, potentially life-saving treatment decisions for their patients.


Link to US Issued Patent No. 9,914,978




Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katie Bray
Intellectual Property Counsel
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Paul Keim
Elizabeth Driebe
David Engelthaler
Jolene Bowers