Molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2015 Jan;13(1):42-51. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro3380. Epub 2014 Dec 1.


Antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are difficult or impossible to treat are becoming increasingly common and are causing a global health crisis. Antibiotic resistance is encoded by several genes, many of which can transfer between bacteria. New resistance mechanisms are constantly being described, and new genes and vectors of transmission are identified on a regular basis. This article reviews recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms by which bacteria are either intrinsically resistant or acquire resistance to antibiotics, including the prevention of access to drug targets, changes in the structure and protection of antibiotic targets and the direct modification or inactivation of antibiotics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / metabolism
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents* / pharmacology
  • Bacteria* / drug effects
  • Bacteria* / metabolism
  • Bacteria* / pathogenicity
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents