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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2012 Jun;39(6):478-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2012.02.007. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Curing bacteria of antibiotic resistance: reverse antibiotics, a novel class of antibiotics in nature.

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Department of Bacteriology, Juntendo University, 2-1-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.


By screening cultures of soil bacteria, we re-discovered an old antibiotic (nybomycin) as an antibiotic with a novel feature. Nybomycin is active against quinolone-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains with mutated gyrA genes but not against those with intact gyrA genes against which quinolone antibiotics are effective. Nybomycin-resistant mutant strains were generated from a quinolone-resistant, nybomycin-susceptible, vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA) strain Mu 50. The mutants, occurring at an extremely low rate (<1 × 10(-11)/generation), were found to have their gyrA genes back-mutated and to have lost quinolone resistance. Here we describe nybomycin as the first member of a novel class of antibiotics designated 'reverse antibiotics'.

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