Fluoroquinolone-resistant mutants were obtained in vitro from Staphylococcus aureus RN4220 by stepwise selection on increasing concentrations of ciprofloxacin. Results from sequence analysis of the quinolone resistance-determining region of GyrA and of the corresponding region of GrlA, the DNA topoisomerase IV subunit, showed an alteration of Ser-80 to Tyr (corresponding to Ser-83 of Escherichia coli GyrA) or Glu-84 to Lys in GrlA of both low- and high-level quinolone-resistant mutants. Second-step mutants were found to have, in addition to a mutation in grlA, reduced accumulation of norfloxacin or an alteration in GyrA at Ser-84 to Leu or Glu-88 to Lys. Third-step mutants derived from second-step mutants with reduced accumulation were found to have a mutation in gyrA. The results from this study demonstrated that mutations in gyrA or mutations leading to reduced drug accumulation occur after alteration of GrlA, supporting the previous findings (L. Ferrero, B. Cameron, B. Manse, D. Lagneaux, J. Crouzet, A. Famechon, and F. Blanche, Mol. Microbiol. 13:641-653, 1994) that DNA topoisomerase IV is a primary target of fluoroquinolones in S. aureus.