Towards Understanding MCR-like Colistin Resistance

Trends Microbiol. 2018 Sep;26(9):794-808. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2018.02.006. Epub 2018 Mar 7.


Antibiotic resistance has become a global public health priority. Polymyxins, a family of cationic polypeptide antibiotics, act as a final line of refuge against severe infections by Gram-negative pathogens with pan-drug resistance. Unfortunately, this last-resort antibiotic has been challenged by the emergence and global spread of mobilized colistin resistance determinants (mcr). Given the fact that it has triggered extensive concerns worldwide, we present here an updated view of MCR-like colistin resistance. These studies provide a basic framework for understanding the molecular epidemiology and resistance mechanism of MCR-like genes. However, further large-scale epidemiology and functional studies are urgently needed to better understand the biology of this clinically important antibiotic resistance.

Keywords: MCR-1; MCR-2; biochemical mechanism; colistin resistance; genetic determinants; polymyxin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Colistin / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymyxins / pharmacology
  • Recombination, Genetic


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • MCR-1 protein, E coli
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Polymyxins
  • mcr-2 protein, E coli
  • Colistin