The elevated expression of the norA gene is responsible for efflux-mediated resistance to quinolones in Staphylococcus aureus (E.Y.W. Ng, M. Trucksis, and D.C. Hooper, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 38:1345-1355, 1994). For S. aureus transformed with a plasmid containing the cloned norA gene, SA113(pTUS20) (H. Yoshida, M. Bogaki, S. Nakamura, K. Ubukata, and M. Konno, J. Bacteriol. 172:6942-6949, 1990), and an overexpressed mutant, SA-1199B (G.W. Kaatz, S.M. Seo, and C.A. Ruble, J. Infect. Dis. 163:1080-1086, 1991), the MICs of norfloxacin increased 16 and 64 times compared with its MICs for the recipient and wild-type strains, SA113 and SA-1199, respectively. MICs of CS-940, however, increased only two and eight times, even though these two fluoroquinolones are similarly hydrophilic (apparent logPs of approximately -1). No good correlation was found, among 15 developed and developing quinolones, between the increment ratio in MICs and hydrophobicity (r = 0.61). Analysis of the quantitative structure-activity relationship among 40 fluoroquinolones revealed that the MIC increment ratio was significantly correlated with the bulkiness of the C-7 substituent and bulkiness and hydrophobicity of the C-8 substituent of fluoroquinolones (r = 0.87) and not with its molecular hydrophobicity (r = 0.47). Cellular accumulation of norfloxacin in SA-1199B was significantly lower than that in SA-1199, and it was increased by addition of carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone. On the other hand, accumulations of CS-940 in these strains were nearly identical, and they were not affected by addition of the protonophore.