Survival proteomes: the emerging proteotype of antimicrobial resistance

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2016 May;40(3):323-42. doi: 10.1093/femsre/fuv051. Epub 2016 Jan 19.


Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest challenges in modern medicine. Infectious diseases that have historically been eliminated with routine antibiotic therapy are now re-emerging as life threatening illnesses. A better understanding of the specific mechanisms that contribute to resistance are required to optimize the treatment of infectious microorganisms and limit the survival of recalcitrant populations. This challenging area of research is made more problematic by the observation that multiple, overlapping, and/or compensatory resistance mechanism are often present within a single bacterial species. High-resolution proteomics has emerged as an effective tool to study antimicrobial resistance as it allows for the quantitative investigation of multiple systems concurrently. Furthermore, the ability to examine extracellular mechanisms of resistance and important post-translational modifications make this research tool well suited for the challenge. This review discusses how proteomics has contributed to the understanding of antimicrobial resistance and focuses on advances afforded by the more recent development of technologies that produce quantitative high-resolution proteomic information. We discuss current strategies for studying resistance, including comparative analysis of resistant and susceptible strains and protein-based responses to antimicrobial challenge. Lastly, we suggest specific experimental approaches aimed at advancing our understanding of protein-based resistance mechanisms and maximizing therapeutic outcomes in the future.

Keywords: antimicrobial resistance; experimental design; mass-spectrometry; pathogenic bacteria; post-translational modifications; proteomics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Bacteria / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Proteome*
  • Proteomics / trends*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Proteome