The world of subinhibitory antibiotic concentrations

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2006 Oct;9(5):445-53. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2006.08.006. Epub 2006 Aug 30.


Although antibiotics have long been known to have multiple effects on bacterial cells at low concentrations, it is only with the advent of genome transcription analyses that these activities have been studied in detail at the level of cell metabolism. It has been shown that all antibiotics, regardless of their receptors and mode of action, exhibit the phenomenon of hormesis and provoke considerable transcription activation at low concentrations. These analyses should be of value in providing information on antibiotic side-effects, in bioactive natural product discovery and antibiotic mode-of-action studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / biosynthesis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Ribosomes / drug effects
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents