Mechanisms of antibiotic resistance
Microbiology spectrum, 2165-0497, Vol. 4, Nro. 2, 2016
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Emergence of resistance among the most important bacterial pathogens is recognized as a major public health threat affecting humans worldwide. Multidrug-resistant organisms have emerged not only in the hospital environment but are now often identified in community settings, suggesting that reservoirs of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are present outside the hospital. The bacterial response to the antibiotic “attack” is the prime example of bacterial adaptation and the pinnacle of evolution. “Survival of the fittest” is a consequence of an immense genetic plasticity of bacterial pathogens that trigger specific responses that result in mutational adaptations, acquisition of genetic material or alteration of gene expression producing resistance to virtually all antibiotics currently available in clinical practice. Therefore, understanding the biochemical and genetic basis of resistance is of paramount importance to design strategies to curtail the emergence and spread of resistance and devise innovative therapeutic approaches against multidrug-resistant organisms. In this chapter, we will describe in detail the major mechanisms of antibiotic resistance encountered in clinical practice providing specific examples in relevant bacterial pathogens.
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