Molecular mechanisms of antibacterial multidrug resistance

Cell. 2007 Mar 23;128(6):1037-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.03.004.


Treatment of infections is compromised worldwide by the emergence of bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics. Although classically attributed to chromosomal mutations, resistance is most commonly associated with extrachromosomal elements acquired from other bacteria in the environment. These include different types of mobile DNA segments, such as plasmids, transposons, and integrons. However, intrinsic mechanisms not commonly specified by mobile elements-such as efflux pumps that expel multiple kinds of antibiotics-are now recognized as major contributors to multidrug resistance in bacteria. Once established, multidrug-resistant organisms persist and spread worldwide, causing clinical failures in the treatment of infections and public health crises.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial / genetics
  • Conjugation, Genetic
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins