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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2012 Sep;67(9):2069-89. doi: 10.1093/jac/dks196. Epub 2012 May 22.

Bacterial stress responses as determinants of antimicrobial resistance.

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Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, Canada K7L 3N6.


Bacteria encounter a myriad of stresses in their natural environments, including, for pathogens, their hosts. These stresses elicit a variety of specific and highly regulated adaptive responses that not only protect bacteria from the offending stress, but also manifest changes in the cell that impact innate antimicrobial susceptibility. Thus exposure to nutrient starvation/limitation (nutrient stress), reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (oxidative/nitrosative stress), membrane damage (envelope stress), elevated temperature (heat stress) and ribosome disruption (ribosomal stress) all impact bacterial susceptibility to a variety of antimicrobials through their initiation of stress responses that positively impact recruitment of resistance determinants or promote physiological changes that compromise antimicrobial activity. As de facto determinants of antimicrobial, even multidrug, resistance, stress responses may be worthy of consideration as therapeutic targets.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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