The genetic basis of resistance to antimicrobial drugs
The development of safe, effective antimicrobial drugs has revolutionized medicine in the past 60 years. Morbidity and mortality from microbial disease have been drastically reduced by modern chemotherapy. Unfortunately, micro-organisms are nothing if not versatile, and the brilliance of the chemotherapeutic achievement has been dimmed by the emergence of microbial strains presenting a formidable array of defences against our most valuable drugs. This should not surprise us, since the evolutionary history of living organisms is concerned with their adaptation to the environment. The adaptation of micro-organisms to the toxic hazards of antimicrobial drugs is therefore probably inevitable. The extraordinary speed with which antibiotic resistance has spread amongst bacteria during the era of chemotherapy has been due, in large measure, to the remarkable genetic flexibility of this group of organisms.
KeywordsHuman Immunodeficiency Virus Gene Cassette Gene Mobility Human Immunodeficiency Virus Protease Mosaic Gene
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Alekshun, M. N. and Levy, S. B. (1997). Regulation of chromosomally mediated multiple antibiotic resistance: the mar regulon. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 41, 2067.Google Scholar
- Courvalin, P. (1994). Transfer of antibiotic resistant genes between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 38, 1447.Google Scholar
- Prescott, L. M., Harley, J. P and Klein, D. A. (1996). Microbiology, 3rd edn, William C. Brown, Dubuque IA.Google Scholar
- Salyers, A. A. and Amabile-Cuevas, C. F. (1997). Why are antibiotic resistance genes so resistant to elimination? Antimicrob. Agents. Chemother. 41, 2321.Google Scholar
- Salyers, A. A. et al. (1995). Conjugative transposons: an unusual and diverse set of integrated gene transfer elements. Microbiol. Rev. 59, 579.Google Scholar
- Tenover, F. C. and Hughes, J. M. (1996). The challenge of emerging infectious diseases: development and spread of multiply-resistant bacterial pathogens. Science 275, 300.Google Scholar