Conserved collateral antibiotic susceptibility networks in diverse clinical strains of Escherichia coli

Nat Commun. 2018 Sep 10;9(1):3673. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06143-y.


There is urgent need to develop novel treatment strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance. Collateral sensitivity (CS), where resistance to one antimicrobial increases susceptibility to other drugs, might enable selection against resistance during treatment. However, the success of this approach would depend on the conservation of CS networks across genetically diverse bacterial strains. Here, we examine CS conservation across diverse Escherichia coli strains isolated from urinary tract infections. We determine collateral susceptibilities of mutants resistant to relevant antimicrobials against 16 antibiotics. Multivariate statistical analyses show that resistance mechanisms, in particular efflux-related mutations, as well as the relative fitness of resistant strains, are principal contributors to collateral responses. Moreover, collateral responses shift the mutant selection window, suggesting that CS-informed therapies may affect evolutionary trajectories of antimicrobial resistance. Our data allow optimism for CS-informed therapy and further suggest that rapid detection of resistance mechanisms is important to accurately predict collateral responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amdinocillin / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Ciprofloxacin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Mutation
  • Nitrofurantoin / pharmacology
  • Phylogeny
  • Trimethoprim / pharmacology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / microbiology*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Trimethoprim
  • Amdinocillin