Bacterial resistance mechanism: what proteomics can elucidate

FASEB J. 2013 Apr;27(4):1291-303. doi: 10.1096/fj.12-221127. Epub 2013 Jan 24.


Antibiotics are important therapeutic agents commonly used for the control of bacterial infectious diseases; however, resistance to antibiotics has become a global public health problem. Therefore, effective therapy in the treatment of resistant bacteria is necessary and, to achieve this, a detailed understanding of mechanisms that underlie drug resistance must be sought. To fill the multiple gaps that remain in understanding bacterial resistance, proteomic tools have been used to study bacterial physiology in response to antibiotic stress. In general, the global analysis of changes in the protein composition of bacterial cells in response to treatment with antibiotic agents has made it possible to construct a database of proteins involved in the process of resistance to drugs with similar mechanisms of action. In the past few years, progress in using proteomic tools has provided the most realistic picture of the infective process, since these tools detect the end products of gene biosynthetic pathways, which may eventually determine a biological phenotype. In most bacterial species, alterations occur in energy and nitrogen metabolism regulation; glucan biosynthesis is up-regulated; amino acid, protein, and nucleotide synthesis is affected; and various proteins show a stress response after exposing these microorganisms to antibiotics. These issues have been useful in identifying targets for the development of novel antibiotics and also in understanding, at the molecular level, how bacteria resist antibiotics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena / genetics
  • Cell Membrane / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Proteomics* / methods


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents