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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2013 May;12(5):371-87. doi: 10.1038/nrd3975.

Platforms for antibiotic discovery.

Author information

1
Department of Biology and Antimicrobial Discovery Center, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. k.lewis@neu.edu

Abstract

The spread of resistant bacteria, leading to untreatable infections, is a major public health threat but the pace of antibiotic discovery to combat these pathogens has slowed down. Most antibiotics were originally isolated by screening soil-derived actinomycetes during the golden era of antibiotic discovery in the 1940s to 1960s. However, diminishing returns from this discovery platform led to its collapse, and efforts to create a new platform based on target-focused screening of large libraries of synthetic compounds failed, in part owing to the lack of penetration of such compounds through the bacterial envelope. This article considers strategies to re-establish viable platforms for antibiotic discovery. These include investigating untapped natural product sources such as uncultured bacteria, establishing rules of compound penetration to enable the development of synthetic antibiotics, developing species-specific antibiotics and identifying prodrugs that have the potential to eradicate dormant persisters, which are often responsible for hard-to-treat infections.

PMID:
23629505
DOI:
10.1038/nrd3975
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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