Ins and outs of antimicrobial resistance: era of the drug pumps

J Dent Res. 1996 Feb;75(2):736-42. doi: 10.1177/00220345960750020201.


Over the past five years, concerns have heightened over the escalating numbers of pathogenic micro-organisms isolated that are resistant to many antibiotics and drugs. This phenomenon poses major problems in the treatment of patients with hospital- or community-acquired infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasitic organisms. Microbial cells have acquired resistances to specific antibiotics and drugs by mechanisms that include antibiotic inactivation, target alteration, or drug exclusion. More recently, the importance of another mechanism, that of drug expulsion, has been recognized as contributing significantly to antibiotic and drug resistance in microbes. Drug expulsion, mediated by membrane-associated drug efflux pumps, can protect cells from a range of toxic compounds and therefore may confer single-step multidrug resistance. It is imperative that new drugs be designed or discovered that will poison the pumps or bypass the efflux mechanisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections / drug therapy
  • Cross Infection / drug therapy
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / physiology*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple / physiology
  • Humans
  • Ion Pumps / physiology
  • Mycoses / drug therapy
  • Parasitic Diseases / drug therapy
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Ion Pumps
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations