Multidrug Resistance in Bacteria

Macromoltek, Inc.
Jun 17, 2019 · 5 min read

Sometimes the miracles of modern medicine can have their downsides. A streak of 20th century medical innovation created many important antibiotics used today, and was responsible for dramatically lowering the impact of infectious disease around the globe. However, the widespread distribution and usage of these same antibiotics served as a sort of evolutionary screening mechanism, selecting for tougher and tougher strains of bacteria with increasing antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is recognized by the CDC as “one of the biggest public health challenges of our time,” and the concentration of resistant bacterial strains in hospital environments is an especially grave threat to patients whose defenses may already be weakened by injury or disease. Creating novel solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance requires a deep understanding of resistance mechanisms. Today’s blog post will discuss a few key examples.

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The wide-spread use of penicillin throughout the 20th century has lead to “fitter” bacteria that are resistant to the varieties of medicine available to fight them. Glass phial of British Standard penicillin, London, England,. Credit: Science Museum, London.CC BY

Bacterial antibiotic resistance mechanisms typically use one of a few strategies: bacterial systems can modify an antibiotic molecule so it can’t bind its target, destroy the antibiotic molecule, mutate the antibiotic’s target protein so that the bacterium is no longer affected, borrow a replacement protein from other bacterial species, or simply try to remove the drug from the cell altogether.

Antibiotic Neutralization

Antibiotic Destruction

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Salmonella Typhimurium infection of a human epithelial cell. Credit: David Goulding, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. CC BY-NC

Alteration of Target Protein

Replacement of Target Protein

Preventing Drug Access to Targets

The Role for Antibodies

Links and Citations:

  1. Munita, J. M., & Arias, C. A. (2016). Mechanisms of Antibiotic Resistance. Microbiology spectrum, 4(2), 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0016–2015. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0016–2015
  2. Nikaido H. (2009). Multidrug resistance in bacteria. Annual review of biochemistry, 78, 119–146. doi:10.1146/annurev.biochem.78.082907.145923
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Macromoltek, Inc.

Written by

Welcome to the Macromoltek blog. We're an Austin-based biotech firm focused on using computers to further the discovery and design of antibodies.

Macromoltek, Inc.

Written by

Welcome to the Macromoltek blog. We're an Austin-based biotech firm focused on using computers to further the discovery and design of antibodies.

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