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Int Microbiol. 1998 Dec;1(4):279-84.

Evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics during the last three decades.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Hospital Clínico Universitario, Zaragoza, Spain.


Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is often plasmid-mediated and the associated genes encoded by transposable elements. These elements play a central role in evolution by providing mechanisms for the generation of diversity and, in conjunction with DNA transfer systems, for the dissemination of resistances to other bacteria. At the University Hospital of Zaragoza, extensive efforts have been made to define both the dissemination and evolution of antibiotic resistance by studying the transferable R plasmids and transposable elements. Here we describe the research on bacterial resistance to antibiotics in which many authors listed in the references have participated. The aspects of bacterial resistance dealt with are: (i) transferable resistance mediated by R plasmids in Gram-negative bacteria, (ii) R plasmid-mediated resistance to apramycin and hygromycin in clinical strains, (iii) the transposon Tn1696 and the integron In4, (iv) expression of Escherichia coli resistance genes in Haemophilus influenzae, (v) aminoglycoside-modifying-enzymes in the genus Mycobacterium with no relation to resistance, and (vi) macrolide-resistance and new mechanisms developed by Gram-positive bacteria.

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